Boost Your Short-Term Memory By Doing Jigsaw Puzzles

Most people don’t ever think about the skills needed to assemble a jigsaw puzzle. They just dump out the box and start putting together the pieces. But if you step back and reflect on what it takes to complete a jigsaw puzzle, you just might be surprised!

Skills Involved in Doing Jigsaw Puzzles

There are many skills involved.  First, you scan the various puzzle pieces to look for straight edges to build the border. You look for the four corners, the pieces that have two straight edges. You have to analyze which colors and shadings would make a good match. And you also need to find pieces that fit together for all sorts of reasons. Maybe they are a part of something like a person, an animal, and an object. Or they just might fit with other pieces because of their different protrusions, various sizes, and unique-shaped sides.

You do all of this while retaining the information that is needed in your short-term memory (e.g., Now, where is that piece that has a black squiggly line with a dab of red and yellow? It has to be rounded on one side and there is a jagged top with two outward points on the other side). And when you find the piece that works, you do the same thing over and over again until the puzzle is complete.

So, what is short-term memory?

Short-term memory is also referred to as primary or active memory. It is the information that you are thinking about and are aware of at the present time. Right now. There’s a reason that short-term memory is called “short-term memory.” It lasts just a limited time. Most people can only keep about 5-9 thoughts in their mind at one time. And if the information is not repeated out loud or in your head, then most of it disappears right away.

For example, short-term memory is used to remember a phone number that you looked up after shutting the phone book, where you parked your car at the store, what you ate for breakfast yesterday, and the details of an article you read on the Internet a few days ago. We use short-term memory skills all day long. 

Short-term Memory is Vital

Each time we do, these memory skills reinforce the connections made between brain cells. And then, they help to create new connections. This, in turn, helps maintain our thought processes. Thus, short-term memory helps us better function in the world around us and strive for a healthy lifestyle. That’s why enhancing short-term memory is so important.

Granted, there may be natural changes in our ability to remember things as we age. That’s to be expected. The major concern is a significant memory loss. Interesting to note, scientists and medical professionals concur that mental stimulation helps to prevent severe memory loss.

Jigsaw puzzles offer that much-needed mental stimulation…so beneficial to optimal health. What’s more? They can be fun, entertaining, and challenging.

You just might want to give them a try!