There are many different ways to engage your brain such as:
- Doing a crossword
- A jigsaw puzzle
- A trivia quiz
- Doing a word search
- A brain teaser
Research has shown that when we do a jigsaw puzzle, we use both sides of the brain. It stimulates the brain, which improves memory, cognitive function, and problem-solving skills. Crosswords and word searches also have the benefit of helping to increase vocabulary, reading, spelling and language skills.
Sudoku is a puzzle where you put a set of numbers on a grid. In addition to exercising the brain, Sudoku tests the memory and requires logical thinking.
Playing games and doing puzzles can offer a social benefit too. We improve our social interaction when we work on them with others, whether we play with our children or join a group. These interactions help to keep us socially active and also helps with developing our children's social skills.
Puzzles, crosswords, and word searches can provide a meditative way to work on the mind. Even if you spend 5 minutes or 10 minutes doing this or 2 hours, there will still be benefits.
In addition to improving concentration, brain function, and relaxation, puzzles can assist mental stimulation. Research carried out by Mental Health Charity - Mind, found that when people are in a crisis doing a puzzle or playing a game, it helped to give them something else to focus on, and many people have confirmed the impact this has had on them personally.
Playing games and doing puzzles also has some other health benefits. A study in 2021 found that high levels of cognitive activity such as reading, playing games, doing puzzles, and writing letters can delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease by five years amongst those who are aged 80 and over.
Many people will spend a large proportion of their day looking at the screen for work. We are then looking at our phones or tablets in our free time, scrolling on Social Media etc. While there will be many apps available for phones and tablets offering a large range of games and puzzles, why not to consider trying to reduce screen time? We know that time spent looking at a screen can have an effect on our wellbeing and impact our sleep. Why not consider doing a jigsaw puzzle or sitting down with a coffee and putting pen to paper and using a puzzle book as opposed to staring at a screen.
There are still many people who buy a daily newspaper just for the puzzle page. Whether they enjoy doing the daily crossword, spot the difference or sudoku, they are all keeping their brain engaged and active.