10 Surprising Benefits of Jigsaw Puzzles

Research shows that doing jigsaw puzzles is good for your mind; helping improve memory, spatial awareness, creative problem solving amongst others!

Jigsaw puzzles have had something of a renaissance in the past year. Thanks to the pandemic much of the world has found themselves sheltering in place and looking for indoor activities that are not just entertaining but good for mental health too. Queue the humble jigsaw puzzle. 

The truth is that brushing away the dust on that forgotten jigsaw puzzle hidden away in the games cupboard did more than just distract you for a few hours - in fact, doing jigsaw puzzles are good for your mind. We’ll list out the benefits of jigsaw puzzles below:


Doing a Jigsaw Puzzle is Like Exercise For Your Brain

Jigsaw puzzles are a complete brain exercise since both the right and left sides of the brain are activated when puzzling. The right is in charge of creativity, emotions and intuitive thinking; and the left is the logical, objective and methodical side.

When you do a puzzle both sides must communicate and work together, increasing cognitive function. The occipital lobe is the area where the brain connects colors and shapes and it is also activated. Exercising the mind helps prevent cognitive decline.

Improved Visual-Spatial Reasoning

Assembling a puzzle requires finding and connecting the right pieces together. The different shapes and sizes of the puzzles helps improve spatial reasoning as you have to locate the small puzzle image within a larger puzzle image. 

Better Attention to Detail

In particularly challenging puzzles (like Ponder Designs Co’s puzzles), your brain has to work extra hard to figure out which piece belongs to which part of the puzzle. It’s crucial to pay attention to every detail. The ability to capture the small details in puzzles can transfer into everyday lives, especially when it comes to work. Puzzles help you become more detailed and prices… sign me up!

Jigsaw Puzzles Improve Memory 

As we mentioned in our previous post, doing a puzzle can help improve memory. Research by Yale University reveals jigsaw puzzles are in fact a good brain workout while joint engagement in solving puzzles results in improved collaboration and cooperation. Additionally, studies show that involvement in puzzles can promote memory retention and reduce the likelihood of developing dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Jigsaw Puzzles Can Increase Your IQ

Well, what do you know? Researchers from the University of Michigan, led by Dr. Susanne Jäggi, found that spending 25 minutes a day solving puzzles and riddles can raise your IQ by 4 points. Ponder Puzzles are unique in that each illustration is anchored in a different social or cultural topic, meaning you go that extra mile to activate your brain when doing a Ponder puzzle. See our collection here. 

Improve problem solving ability

For all types of puzzles, not just jigsaw puzzles, you need to approach the challenge with different strategies; do you bucket all the colours together first? Do you do the borders first? Do you target certain areas of the puzzle image? With more and more modern designs out there, puzzles are getting more tricky and exciting, encouraging different approaches to problem solving. 

These skills can be transferred to work, making you more innovativing in problem solving, more critical thinking, and better adaptive skills.

Increased productivity….yes pleeeease!


If you're having trouble staying focused on your work, studies, or projects, consider taking a short break to do a puzzle and reset your brain. Even workplaces are beginning to include puzzles and similar games in their resting areas. These games help employees disconnect from work for a few minutes and come back refreshed and ready to start again.

Collaboration and Teamwork

Yale University researchers found that when workers can puzzle together in the workspace it helped them improve their relationships and the ability to cooperate and teamwork. So, if puzzles aren’t in your workplace yet, maybe now is the time to pitch it into your boss.

Ponder puzzles aren’t your average puzzle either, they are designed to look like coffee table books, so even if they don’t get finished, they’re sure to impress clients too!

Jigsaw Puzzles Even Decrease Stress Levels!

So, we live in a world that’s ‘Always On’, running on a treadmill, chasing the next deadline… We even designed a puzzle about this topic. But puzzles are wonderful ways to pause, reset and reconnect and can actually decrease your stress levels.. Just like meditating, but with a puzzle. 

In fact, our brains go from "Beta" or awake, to a state of "Alpha" when you are assembling puzzles. The Alpha state is similar to the state we are in when we are dreaming - the very premise of Ponder Designs Co!

Better mood… if you weren’t already after reading this. 

Solving puzzles has a sense of accomplishment to it. Even if you don’t finish it, finding the perfect fit for a puzzle piece can trigger a release of dopamine (which literally makes us feel good!). Dopamine is released every time we do a puzzle and even every time we put a piece in the right place. This encourages us to continue to do so and challenge ourselves.

So, with all those wonderful benefits of puzzles, why not browse our selection of puzzles and give your mind a break in the great indoors.