Ever have one of those “here-after” moments? As in, “What am I here after?”
Yeah. Me too.
Or, you know that person’s name. It’s right on the tip of your tongue. And it’s your brother-in-law. (Big Sigh)
Yep. Our “cognitive abilities” start to decline after about the age of 40, according to The Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology. To quote further, “A growing number of studies now support the protective effects of intellectual stimulation on cognitive abilities without dementia.”
Hmmm. “intellectual stimulation;” “cognitive abilities.” What are they talking about?
Well, in a word, Puzzles. Yep. Plain, ol’, everyday puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles. Word Search puzzles. Crossword Puzzles. Any kind of puzzles. They all work. They all provide benefits to our “Cognitive Abilities.”
“Cognitive Abilities?” That’s psychological jargon for what our brain does.
Here’s the official definition from the International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (Second Edition), 2015:
“Cognitive ability is defined as a general mental capability involving reasoning, problem solving, planning, abstract thinking, complex idea comprehension, and learning from experience.”
Cool! I’ll take all I can get!
So it turns out that puzzles have big benefits when it comes to increasing our cognitive abilities, among other things.
If you want to cut to the chase, here’s a freebie that will give you a sample of a bunch of different puzzles. Just click here and go to my Free Library. You’ll need the password – it’s create.
If you’re hanging in here to see some other ways we can benefit from puzzles, here’s the condensed version:
Several Ways We Benefit From Puzzles
Puzzles help to keep us Mentally Active and Mentally Fit
We could learn another language, or we could spend some time working on a jigsaw puzzle or some word or logic puzzles. Puzzles are easier, in my opinion. And more fun.
Puzzles Inspire Education
Have you ever done a word search and didn’t know the meaning of half the words? Or tried a challenging crossword puzzle that really intrigued you, and you had to find out more about the subject? Or a cryptogram that you had no idea what it was all about, or had never heard of the person quoted? They can inspire us to learn more about different things. Who knows where such a trail will lead us?
Puzzles Calm our Minds
As we sit and contemplate solutions our minds can calm down, enter into a quiet state something like meditation or mindfulness. (Or, in my case, get frustrated. But I can see how it can be calming for many people.)
Puzzles Improve our IQ
This is related to Number 2 above. A study at the University of Michigan showed that doing puzzles for at least 25 minutes a day can boost your IQ by 4 points. Who Knew??? It doesn’t happen overnight, though. But still, every little bit helps. Also, it’s fun.
Puzzles Increase Productivity
If the puzzle contains small parts – like jigsaw puzzles – it requires attention to detail. Useful. Also included in the skill set of jigsaw puzzles in improving our memories. All puzzles improve concentration, another useful skill. All puzzles increase our problem-solving abilities. All of these skills will help us to be more productive.
Puzzles Improve Our Cognitive Abilities
Well, we’ve already seen how useful that can be. Jigsaw puzzles especially help with memory and visual-spatial abilities. Those cognitive abilities include reasoning, problem solving, decision making – all abilities we can increase by doing puzzles.
Puzzles Improve Our Ability To Concentrate.
That’s a given, seems to me. They also improve our ability to think analytically, and to pay attention. And, as mentioned above, they help to improve our short-term memories, which should cut down on those “here-after” experiences. It turns out that puzzles exercise both sides of our brains – the logic (left) side as well as the creative- aha! (right) side of our brains. What’s not to like?
(Want to try some? Just click here and download the file. You’ll need the password create.)
In case you were wondering, puzzles are not a new invention. Puzzles, in the form of riddles, are mentioned in the Bible. Mazes – the kind you wander around in – are found in prehistorical times. Remember the story of the Minotaur? Archaeologists have found “jug puzzles” that date back a thousand years or more before Christ, and magic squares were popular in China around 700 BCE.
Jigsaw puzzles were invented by John Spilsbury in 1767, crossword puzzles were first published in newspapers in 1913, and Rubik’s cube was invented in 1974.
That’s probably more than you wanted to know about puzzles.
If you like to try your hand – or mind – on a variety of puzzles check out today’s freebie in my Library. I’ve got mazes, word search. crossword, scrambles, Sudoku, and cryptograms for you to enjoy. Just click here and download the file.
And in case you don’t know how to solve Sudoku or cryptogram puzzles, I’ve included instructions. I think you’ll enjoy them.
Thanks for reading all the way to the end! And thanks for being patient with me as I decided what the blog was going to be. You are the best “blog people” anyone could have!
Blessings and Love,
Here’s the library link again: Free Library – and the password…create.