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Can solving puzzles help in brain development?

Overview 

The brain controls the body’s functions and helps the individual comprehend and interact with the surroundings. 

This article talks about the different ways solving puzzles helps in brain development.

How do puzzles protect the brain?

Many people turn to complex mental workouts to boost their brain power, while others rely on more relaxing and versatile activities to achieve results. An exercise that has long been considered the most effective one is solving a puzzle. 

Puzzles are games curated to test an individual’s level of knowledge. When playing these puzzles, the person needs to analyze and put the different pieces together to solve it. It can have a significant effect on one’s brain. 

Many challenging puzzles of varying types are now available for adults and children. These puzzles help provide people with excellent brain-boosting benefits. They work by stimulating distinct parts of the brain that, in turn, improve its function.

Below are seven specific ways that puzzles are suitable for your brain. 

1. They help improve visual and spatial reasoning

One needs to be able to look at individual parts of a jigsaw puzzle or available spaces in a crossword puzzle and figure out the different ways to fit the pieces or words into that space. Doing this regularly can help improve visual and spatial reasoning skills.

Jigsaw puzzles are a common type of puzzle that allows players to see the bigger picture instead of being stuck in a tunnel vision. Games such as Sudoku and brain teasers also help in the long run.

2. Puzzles exercise both sides of your brain

The two hemispheres of the human brain control divergent functions. The left part of the brain controls analytic and logical thinking, and the right one contains creativity. When a person is working on puzzles, they are engaging both sides and giving their brain a mental workout. 

3. They improve problem-solving skills

The ability to think critically and solve problems is helpful in any life situation, and puzzles help a person develop these skills. Since puzzles require people to take different approaches to solve them, it allows an individual to learn to work through trial-and-error methods, form and test theories, and change tracks if unsuccessful.

Solving a Sudoku puzzle is challenging and helps keep the brain alert and focused. Additionally, it increases problem-solving ability, promotes self-motivation, reduces mental decline in older people, and improves reasoning and numerical skills.

4. They improve memory

Working on puzzles reinforces the connections between the brain cells – and forms new ones – so they are a terrific way to improve short-term memory. The human brain uses memory in the process of completing a jigsaw puzzle when remembering shapes, sizes, and pieces and visualizing where they fit in. Research has shown that the growth of new brain connections helps reduce the amount of brain damage in Alzheimer‘s patients. 

5. They enhance mood

One of the benefits of brain puzzles is that they help elevate the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, memory, and concentration. Dopamine is released with every success , as an individual solves the puzzle. 

 6. They lower stress levels

Puzzles not only invigorate the human brain, but they are also super relaxing. While a person concentrates on the different ways to solve the puzzle, their minds are only on one task, which encourages the brain to go into a meditative state. It leads to a better mindset and better stress coping skills.

It is frustrating and annoying to solve a Rubik’s cube puzzle. But, apart from offering good brain exercise, it also provides vital life lessons – the different ways to remain persistent, consistent, patient, and focused. As you can also have fun solving it, it is also a great stress-buster.

 7. They can help improve IQ score

Since puzzles can improve the brain’s memory, concentration, vocabulary, and reasoning skills, they also improve IQ.

Conclusion

As mentioned above, puzzles are great exercises for building and improving the brain. However, one must be selective in choosing the puzzles to focus on. As some critics claim, some puzzles will only serve to entertain the brain temporarily and not make any meaningful impact on an individual’s life. Therefore, a person must be selective when choosing a puzzle. When choosing a puzzle, the person should consider one that is challenging. One should also consider puzzles that test memory, observational, and numeric or math skills.

Some puzzles are also great for languages, learning innovative words and their meanings and improving logical abilities. Some puzzles test the general knowledge of a person and teach them new things. Some puzzles challenge deep critical thinking and produce new ways of solving problems and arm the brain with a broader perspective.

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