Puzzles are some of the most effective educational and entertaining methods that draw roots from ancient times. The very first among them were the riddles and mazes, left to us by the teachers of old. They were recognized as an exceptional educational tool and employed to aid personal development.
Nowadays, puzzles have evolved from riddles and real-life mazes to jigsaw puzzles, sliders, and 3D puzzles that are incredibly fun to solve. But besides entertaining and teasing our brains, they're also quite beneficial for our brains- which is the topic of today's article.
In this article, we'll discuss why solving puzzles is good for you and all the subsequent benefits of solving them. So, keep reading through our article to learn what are the benefits of playing puzzle games for adults. Who knows, maybe your old, dusty Rubik's cube can provide more than just fun.
What are the benefits of playing puzzle games for adults:
Before we dive into all the benefits of puzzle games for adults, let's talk about how they impact us and our brains.
The human brain is nature's supercomputer. It processes a million different chemical and sensory inputs just to keep us alive. But besides being the CPU of people, the brain is the best problem-solving tool given to us by mother nature. And as expected from any problem-solving tool, our brains love solving problems.
Enter –puzzles. Puzzles offer our brain what it loves the most; a wholesome and often entertaining problem to solve. That way, the brain, or rather its cognitive capacity, grows, and your mental performance increases. Here are all the benefits of playing puzzle games for adults:
Enrich your vocabulary
Reading any kind of literature often dramatically enriches one's vocabulary. But solving puzzle also improves your vocabulary.
Though they're primarily designed for children, spelling puzzles are fantastic for adults, as well. They can help you improve your spelling and reading and help you learn new words. Learning is best performed through fun and games, which is why children often have incredible learning performance. Their minds are hungry for information.
Did you notice that children have the easiest time learning a new language? By purchasing a spelling puzzle in a different language, you can learn a new language yourself or alongside your child. It's never too late to learn new stuff, so take an entertaining approach to learning and use puzzles to get more educated.
Improve your IQ
For years, the scientific community regarded your intelligence quotient (IQ) or your reasoning ability as something fixed. Well, modern research concludes that intelligence is much more fluid and malleable than previously thought. Neuroscientists now agree that humans are capable of changing their IQ for the better – and solving puzzles is one way to do it.
Solving puzzles makes you think beyond your usual daily reasoning and forces you to concentrate and analyze the puzzle searching for a solution. It also develops your imagination and your problem-solving skills, which further strengthens the part of your brain that connects its hemispheres.
One of the reasons why Einstein was so brilliant was because his brain hemispheres had a well-developed connection between them. Solving puzzles challenges your corpus callosum, the connection between the hemispheres, to develop further, increasing your IQ by up to 15 points. Of course, the more complex the puzzle, the better the results.
Improved visual-spatial reasoning
It's well documented that solving puzzles significantly improves hand-eye coordination in children, as well as adults. In fact, children can benefit substantially from solving puzzles that are appropriate for their age. You can learn more about it in our article about the benefits of puzzles for children.
For adults, things are pretty much the same. Though adults' visual-spatial reasoning is usually more adept at processing information, compared to children, adults can also benefit from improved visual-spatial reasoning.
Children usually rely on curiosity and combinatorics for solutions, while adults rely on experience and associations. Solving puzzles circumvents this mechanics in adults, forcing our brains to think like that of a child. This has a significant positive impact on visual-spatial reasoning, object-motion processing, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills in adults.
The improved visual-spatial reasoning has many subsequent benefits across all areas of our lives. It makes us more adept, both physically and mentally, improves our handwriting and productivity, enhances our mood, and aids our spatial orientation. The benefits of puzzles for improving visual-spatial reasoning are best noticeable in architecture, 3D design, and complex machinery design.
The human creative, problem-solving, and thinking process creates neural pathways. Our brains use these pathways as shortcuts each time it performs a specific action or a similar one. You can look at it as the brain's personal "cheat sheet."
Each time a person performs a behavior, the number of neural cells within a pathway is increased. This is particularly vexing for creative individuals, as the brains use old pathways to create something new. Because of that, a freshly produced piece of art may show a strong resemblance to the previous one.
Solving puzzles, especially those that offer multiple solutions, challenges your brain to think and work outside its known pathways. This can have a dramatic impact on your creativity, as it makes your brain forge new pathways or use other pathways that are non-specific to your creative process.
Production of Dopamine
Puzzle-solving increases your dopamine production, effectively reducing stress and alleviating any negative you might've accumulated throughout the day.
As a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, motivation, attention, positive thinking, and feeling of optimism, dopamine releases each time you complete a task. So, a small amount of this happiness-inducing hormone is released each time you solve an entire puzzle or at least some of its parts.
It's easy to see how the release of dopamine forms a loop with other benefits. You solve a piece, you release dopamine. In turn, it makes you feel good and enhances your cognitive performance. Increased cognition helps you solve the puzzle further, releasing more dopamine. Solving puzzles is one of the best ways to cheer yourself up and develop your cognition even more.
Some puzzles, like crosswords, require a great deal of attention and concentration. As a result, they often benefit your focus and short-term memory, which can positively affect your productivity.
Some puzzles require great precision and attention to detail, while others require that you focus a bit on finding an answer. Regardless of what you do, puzzles can help improve different cognitive and behavioral patterns.
Nowadays, many large companies have special rooms for socialization and relaxation, including all sorts of games, especially puzzles. Larger puzzles are a great way to bond with your teammates and colleagues and improve your cooperation.
We listed some of the main benefits of playing puzzle games for adults and solving puzzles. However, the benefits don't stop there.
Due to the increased dopamine secretion, enhanced creativity, and better visual-spatial reasoning, you can expect a boost in your cognition and productivity. Additionally, the cognitive effort you put into solving puzzles is an excellent exercise for your brain, both physically and mentally. It helps prevent or delay Dementia and Alzheimer's disease among seniors.
It's safe to assume that puzzles aren't only for children's development but also quite beneficial for adults. Puzzles perform small miracles for the human mind, regardless of its age. With that said, most puzzles are age-appropriate.
Particular attention should be focused on the complexity of the puzzle. Thanks to their experience and association skills, adults should use more complex puzzles to train their minds, memory, creativity, and productivity.
Additionally, not all minds are alike, and some prefer entertaining puzzles, while others like to solve the Sphynx's riddles. Whatever the case may be, playing puzzle games has significant benefits for adults.