Thursday, June 6, 2013

Can haz puzzle

Oh hai ther. Im in ur box.

Every once in a while I get into a jigsaw puzzle mood. This winter I did four puzzles. I like overall complex designs rather than scenes. I like that they are challenging to my "seeing" skills and "strategerizing" skills. I like that they are slow and do not involve technology.

I can haz all the credit?

Puzzles are a great way to relax and while away the stormy winter hours.

Puzzles give my brain a rest, and yet sometimes that's where I get unusual insights.
A relaxed state of mind allows us to look inward toward the stream of remote associations in our right brain...insights come in the shower, when we are in a positive mood, when we are not looking for an insight. (Imagine, Lehrer, p. 31-33)
Sometimes I put on a favorite movie or TV series, or album, and listen while I work.

When it seems that all I focus on is important life stuff, I can stop and do something unimportant, with no deadline, no worries, no making a difference in the world, no demands. Kinda nice once in a while.

My cat thinks I should be paying attention to him, though. I mean what could possibly be more important than feline felicity?! But, he knows how to creatively encroach on my work and get my attention.

I will stay here, I promise. Well maybe just polite perching. 
Oh, oh, I have a cramp and need to stretch. Ah heck, it's nap time anyway.

Why do people do jigsaw puzzles? What's the draw?

You know, its just plain frugal entertainment. Puzzles are inexpensive, good for all ages and abilities, and can involve social interaction. Family members of all ages can participate in some way. Real-life, in-person conversation (remember that?) can happen.

Every Christmas break, when it's slow in the office, a coworker brings in a large challenging puzzle. I've learned so much from and about colleagues I've worked with for years, in just those few (many!) minutes of working on the puzzle together.

I learn about their families, their likes and dislikes, and even their hopes, dreams and fears. I see their way of seeing—"I need a piece with a little green and blue stripe on it", or "I'm looking for a piece with a small foot and a sharp right shoulder." I learn how they solve problems, with singular concentration or chatty collaboration. Some take it seriously, even competitively. But there's no schedule, no budget, no quality assurance, no revenue lost or gained, just a conversation and a needed break from the routine.

This is the hardest one I've done...every piece just little strokes of blue, yellow or brown.

It's good for your brain

My favorite reason for doing a jigsaw puzzle is that it's good for your brain.
Puzzles are an excellent activity for keeping your brain sharp. They challenge your dexterity, spatial reasoning, and logic. Even better, they work both sides of your brain simultaneously, something few other activities do. The creative side works to see the finished product, while the logical side works to fit the pieces.
I like that. A workout for both sides of your brain that results in a fun piece of art.

It can make you feel good, improve your memory, and create a memory with a loved one.
Each success with the puzzle—placement of the pieces as well as completing the puzzle—encourages the production of dopamine, an important neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates mood and affects people’s concentration and motivation. Dopamine plays a large part in the pleasure/reward pathway, memory and motor control. (The Intentional Caregiver)
 Bring on the dopamine!

I can haz table now?

There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle.  ~ Deepak Chopra

11 Reasons to Do a Jigsaw Puzzle
Jigsaw Puzzles Benefit the Brain
A Thousand Pieces of Greatness
BBC: Delay dementia
American Jigsaw Puzzle Society

Why do you love jigsaw puzzles? Shout out your answers in the comments.