Let’s be honest: Life is a little chaotic at the moment. Between trying to figure out when we’ll be able to see friends again to attempting to stay on top of our mental health, everything about the next month (or more) is completely up in the air. But while the outside world may feel unstable, our indoor worlds are being filled with hobbies and habits to help us feel calm, cool, and collected. And if there’s one new hobby you should pick up ASAP, it’s puzzles—grandma’s OG “me time” pasttime turned millennials’ relaxation technique.
But why are so many young people gravitating toward this classic activity during a time of uncertainty? According to clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly, moderately stimulating creative activities like puzzles are great tools to help reduce stress. “Although puzzles may seem to be a mindless activity, research shows that the brain is certainly engaged as it works to seek out patterns and puzzle-piece placements,” she explains.
Scientifically speaking, doing puzzles ups our focus, concentration, creativity, and mental clarity. “Puzzling increases feel-good neurochemicals in the brain; in particular, dopamine, which increases a sense of personal reward, has been found to increase during puzzling activities,” Dr. Manly says. “But if puzzling with others, additional benefits can accrue including increased bonding and connection to others.”
With all of these mental health benefits in mind, there are even more reasons to buy puzzles at this point in time. So pour yourself a glass of wine, grab your roommate or significant other, purchase one of the below picks, and get to puzzling.
8 puzzle games to buy while practicing social distancing
1 The Cat Lover’s Jigsaw Puzzle
Are you a cat lover? Then you’re going to love this 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle from Ridley’s. It’s too purr-fect not to buy.