It's Good to be Puzzled!
I introduced my kids to puzzles at a young age, they would lay on our kitchen floor and put them together, for hours. It was exciting to watch them use their cognitive skills, as well as their emotional skills. They learned patience, and would enjoy the reward of a completed picture at the end!
It’s one of those things that I look forward to doing, similar to reading a good book. Do you ever get so curious about the ending of a book, you skip the last couple chapters? A puzzle is different in the fact, that you know what it’s going to look like, it’s the journey of puzzling that intrigues me.
It reminds me of how the warm sun calls me outside once our MN winters are over. It’s like a craving, a good, healthy craving my brain needs. It got me thinking, what is it about puzzles that draws me in? I’m a multitasking, self-motivating, list-making girl who generally likes to come up with a project, organize the project, start the project, then pass it along for someone else (my husband ) to finish…But not puzzles, I love the process from beginning to end!
While physically piecing a puzzle together, our minds subconsciously shift towards focusing the confusion towards creating solutions. We start taking a more holistic and balanced view of our lives, considering all the little pieces as small challenges rather than impossibilities, as we begin to understand how these little fragments fit together to create a bigger picture.
As we start to make connections between the things that may have previously seemed unrelated to us, we begin to notice patterns. Slowly as the jigsaw puzzle takes shape, the different parts of our lives start coming together to form a sensible picture.
When we sit down to solve a puzzle, both the right and left sides of our brain become simultaneously activated. The left side of the brain, our analytical side, sees all of the separate pieces and begins to sort them out logically. The right cortex of the brain, responsible for our creative side, analyzes the bigger picture and works intuitively. Both sides of our brain are required to function properly in order for us to successfully put the pieces of a puzzle together.
Research shows many benefits of jigsaw puzzling in adulthood. Putting together puzzles engages the mind and is a form of mental gymnastics that can actually promote longer life expectancy, better quality of life, even reducing the risk of certain types of mental illnesses including memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s.
For my birthday one year, I asked for a puzzle table. It’s better than I could have imagined! It’s light weight, can be moved easily from room to room, and has drawers for the pieces. It makes it possible for me to do it anytime, anywhere!! When we host gatherings, generally we have friends sit down and start working on it. People always say, “this is more fun then I remember!” I can happily say that we have turned many friends into master puzzlers, and some even purchased a puzzle table! (If you feel the urge to do so as well, here is the link for the one I own: Puzzle table).
Doing puzzles has improved our quality of life significantly. Its an activity I can enjoy alone, or with any or all my family. We listen to music, laugh, and talk about important topics that are easier to discuss while doing an activity instead of looking each other in the eye (teenagers).
We talk often about how as financial planners, we are the ultimate puzzle masters! When someone comes in needing financial advice and guidance, we first need to lay out and examine each piece of their unique puzzle. What does the end picture look like? It is crafted by their goals and what brings them quality of life. No two puzzles are the same! Our job is to help you put your puzzle together in the most efficient, coherent way possible. You might even find it kind of fun as well!