You might see a simple Sanesco team puzzle challenge…but we see increased creativity and better work solutions, because when it comes to neurotransmitters, we know our stuff! Did you know that when you try to put together a jigsaw puzzle, you harness both the left and right hemisphere of your brain? The left brain hemisphere is our analytical side—when it sees all of the separate pieces, it attempts to sort them out logically. The right brain hemisphere is our creative side— it sees the “big picture” and works intuitively. In order to successfully piece the puzzle together you need to use both types of thinking.
When you exercise both sides of the brain at the same time, you create actual “connections” between the left and right sides, as well as connections between individual brain cells. These connections increase our ability to learn, to comprehend, and to remember. As an added benefit, the successful placement of one piece, even before completing the puzzle, encourages the production of one of our favorite neurotransmitters, dopamine, a brain chemical that increases learning and memory. This is why we always have a puzzle in progress in the break room here at Sanesco.
The connections made while working on jigsaw puzzles aren’t limited to our brain cells. Exercising both sides of the brain simultaneously also allows the brain to move from a Beta state, the wakeful mind, into an “Alpha” state, the same mental state experienced while dreaming. The Alpha state is where we tap into our subconscious mind. Jigsaw puzzles naturally induce this state of creative, focused meditation, where connections can be made on deeper levels. And that release of dopamine with every puzzle piece you successfully place is an added bonus! Dopamine causes improved motor skills, an increase in concentration, optimism, confidence, and an enhanced recollection.
Did you know that the notable MacArthur study, and others, have shown that keeping the mind active with jigsaw puzzles and other mind-flexing activities can actually lead to a longer life expectancy, a better quality of life, and reduce our chances of developing certain types of mental illness, including memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s Disease? By an amazing third!
We’ll be posting progress pics of our team puzzle challenge daily this week…stay tuned. In the meantime, in honor of #nationalpuzzlemonth, give it a try and see how you like it!