Jigsaw your way out of anxiety

Puzzling therapy is an antidote to self-isolation misery  > During the coronavirus lockdown our world is closing in on us and we seek new ways to relieve boredom. Strange things are happening, like talking to each other!

Or having family meals together and digging out long forgotten games, like Monopoly. (Oh, how we have forgotten the joy of family rows caused by landing on Mayfair with only £100 in our bank).

Such board games may not preserve family unity, but they certainly preserve our sanity during the coronavirus pandemic and stop the onset of claustrophobia.

One pastime coming back into fashion is the jigsaw, which is replacing adult colouring books as the best way to avoid going stir-crazy.

Immersive therapy puzzles are certainly an excellent distraction from the non-stop distressing news which pervades our homes.

Jigsaw puzzle therapy to the rescue

A strange phenomenon of this pastime is that jigsawers (is there such a word?) always complaint how difficult their design is to complete, as though doing it is a punishment. Once it is completed all sins are forgiven, photos taken and WhatsApp photos shared. The sense of achievement is immense.

Lots of our clients gush about how jigsaw therapy helps them relax and unwind, says a Tonic therapist. “It offers full mind immersion that drives out all the horrible coronavirus news. You can easily test this theory – try doing a jigsaw while listening to the news, having a conversation or watching TV. The puzzle always wins”.

But are jigsaws really the stress busters as claimed? Or are they simply a diversion fad destined to go the same way as adult colouring books post-coronavirus? This is unlikely, as with global sales nudging £550 million, the puzzle industry is probably a bigger market than all complementary therapies put together. Tonic is in the wrong business!

Dissectologists don’t go to pieces!  *

In our hyper-connected world, if you are physically doing a cardboard puzzle, you are by definition, disconnected and engaged in a task that is immersive. Puzzleologists are cut off in their own little world away from the interruptions and stresses of day-to-day life. And that has to be good for the brain health.

In fact, research suggests that such puzzle therapy potentially prevents cognitive disorders as you age. Anecdotal evidence even suggests it act as a form of meditation ideal for coping with anxiety.

Jigsaws may even help you fall asleep, as looking for matching pieces takes your mind off the worries which cause insomnia. Certainly a pointless distraction is preferable to lying there at night thinking about trying to go to sleep. It is just you and your puzzle – a full-brain exercise which prevents multitasking, ensuring you tune out all your worries.

But be careful, you don’t want to end up phoning Tonic with a jigsaw puzzle addiction.

Footnote  > * If you want to get serious about jigsaws, check out the Benevolent Confraternity of Dissectologists (BCD), and the Jigsaw Puzzle Club.

10 thoughts on “Jigsaw your way out of anxiety

  1. Oak-girl says:

    Life is a puzzle. So I really don’t need a puzzle in a box and yet I concede they are very relaxing to do. They never fail to calm my nerves and put my mind in a better place.

  2. anon says:

    they force me to concentrate all of my attention on one very specific thing
    there is no room for my mind to roam free and stir up trouble
    so peace all round

    • Babie says:

      Yup. If you have not tried a jigsaw for a while, then give one a go and see for yourself what a great a therapy it can be. You may find it gives a extra little bit of something nice to your home and day to day life.

    • Pappa John says:

      Doing jigsaws and other puzzles with friends boasts even more mental benefits than doing them on your own. It has a cognitive engagement that really gets your neurons firing and keeps your brain active – plus it is a brilliant social engagement. Who knows, during this lockdown you might even get your kids off their smartphones!

  3. Corrie (Client 99) says:

    They quieten the mind and that is something those of us over-thinkers and obsessors need. The chatter going on in our heads all day is ever-present. Jigsaw puzzles are a way to sanity and that has nothing to do with the current lockdown. We all need peace and calm whatever stage of life we are going through.

    • Wooden Hearted Lady says:

      You are so right. Jigsaw Puzzle Therapy is a marvellous tool for people who are looking for a way to cope with their mental and emotional health issues. I feel a great friendship with people who gain comfort and a little peace from this type of therapy. Of course not all people who use jigsaw therapy are living with anxiety. Some live with Alzheimer’s or loneliness or other health issues. However, it helps them all and gives a little peace in a turbulent world.

  4. J.T. says:

    I love puzzling away and when I am done I feel like my reset button has been pushed and I can tackle whatever is next with a fresher perspective.

    • Minty (Scarborough) says:

      It is such a nice way to be together. Working together on a task and helping each other. That nostalgia factor definitely contributes to their appeal.

    • just an old git says:

      Working on jigsaw puzzles has had so many therapeutic benefits. Beyond simply passing the time on a dreary evening, organising these pieces gives a sense of control and purpose on those days when I feel like I have little of both. And during this coronavirus lockdown I have plenty of these. It is something to enjoy and look forward to when I get up. As we are finding out, life may not always be perfect, but finding the right piece of the puzzle certainly is!!!!

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