#355 Jigsaw puzzles

My goal is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Jigsaw puzzles

I’m not quite sure why puzzles have such a bad rap. In my younger days we put puzzles together, mod podged them (wasn’t that the original use for mod podge?), and use them as inexpensive wall art. After all… we spent all that time putting it together and it felt sinful to instantaneously break it back into pieces and box it up.

I guess that’s one of the arguments against puzzles. Why bother if you are going to undo it? Furthermore, puzzles are like books for some – once you do it, there’s no enjoyment in a repeat experience so it may feel rather futile all together.

I may argue however, that puzzles are a great tool in the pursuit of mindfulness. They encourage our attention and concentration unlike television or reading. They allow us to simultaneously converse and engage. They provide a common ground and in some cases, allow for teamwork (“help me find this red piece”).

Having a puzzle ready for assembly is a great tool for breaking habits. When it sits out and is available as a distraction tool, it can replace energy that might otherwise be directed toward a smoke or snack break. It’s something that can be addressed five minutes at a time or in a five hour stint without recourse. Indeed, it’s a terrific – non-electronic – way to spend a rainy afternoon with a little Bon Jovi in the background and a glass of wine in the non-dominant hand.

In the UK at least, puzzles are making a comeback. So much so that puzzle manufacturers there are adding staff for the first time in decades. And, if you want to get REALLY serious… the big kids, the puzzle kings, the masters… have compiled this list of puzzles for the especially dedicated. The top one having 48,000 (!!!) pieces.

I suggest the use of jigsaw puzzles to clients who are anxious as a means of helping them to slow down, focus, and learn to quiet. As one might imagine, this suggestion is frequently met with resistance and lots of objections. “I don’t have time / space / patience…” – yada, yada. My rebuttal is a questioning  rise of the eyebrows to challenge the rote response. There is not a legitimate objection (in my mind) as we all could benefit from giving up 30 min of television or Instagram time in favor of some mindful moments with a partner or child searching for the ‘brown corner barn piece’ or ‘the inside of that pink flower’. Beginning your puzzle on a puzzle mat (a yoga mat works) so that it can be rolled up and tucked out of the way without disturbing your work typically nullifies the rest of the objections.

A simple way to increase your mindful activity, reduce anxiety, and increase family time is found in the pursuit of …

Jigsaw puzzles.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

One thought on “#355 Jigsaw puzzles

  1. My husband & I love jigsaw puzzles. Best stress reliever ever. You have ONE job, find where that piece in your hand will go. Can’t think of anything else. Another thought is to have a table with a puzzle in a senior citizen room, Apt or home. When people don’t find conversation easy, they can always work a puzzle. Great interaction!!

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