Why doing puzzles makes you happy

So many people find completing jigsaw puzzles fascinating and calming. We explore why this is.

Why do we complete jigsaw puzzles?

It is the end of the work day and it’s time to go home! As an escape from the stresses and strains of the day, many people seek an after-work activity that allows them to think about something other than their jobs, and helps them to relax. Doing jigsaw puzzles is a fantastic solution to wind down at home after a hard day, with the family or even on your own.
Woman doing a puzzle

Do puzzles really make people happy?

It certainly does! Assembling a jigsaw puzzle is hugely satisfying and can truly bring happiness. The self-proclaimed puzzle king Peter Schubert tells us: “Bringing order to a pile of chaos can have an incredibly calming and relaxing effect.”

What is most fascinating is spending quality time on your own, whilst allowing your mind to drift away to another place or another world, all while searching, finding, assembling and ultimately seeing the puzzle scene come together.
Woman doing a puzzle

What do researchers say?

Puzzle fans are not the only ones saying that doing puzzles makes you happy. It has been scientifically proven that doing jigsaw puzzles is sure to lift your spirits – in more ways than one, as Dr. Stephan Lermer (Communication Psychologist) has discovered: “Firstly, surprising sub-goals are achieved when doing a puzzle.”

“Secondly,” adds Lermer, “there is also the overall result, which symbolizes ‘I did it!’ that can be displayed and brings admiration and recognition. I like to differentiate between arrogant and healthy pride – people who do puzzles can be proud of themselves in a healthy way.”
Woman showing a piece of a puzzle

Competence meets challenge

But psychology is aware of even more reasons why doing puzzles has such fascination for so many people: “We humans feel stressed if we have a task that we don’t succeed at and are bored if we are competent at something but have no task,” explains Dr Lermer.

“By doing puzzles, we achieve the perfect balance. It is where competence meets challenge. It means we have a task that we are capable of doing, but are not sure how long we need to complete it and whether we will be successful at it, on the first try. That is the charm of doing a puzzle.” Actually achieving goals, which we have set for ourselves, strengthens our self-confidence and brings us inner harmony and satisfaction. And who knows – maybe doing puzzles holds the key to happiness.

Our puzzles make the hearts of all puzzle fans beat a bit faster

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