How To Create Order From Chaos In 1000 Pieces


Enjoy puzzles? Those 1000 pieces are good for you and your brain! Here's how!

So many of us turn to puzzles or problem solving as a way to relax. Crossword and word puzzles,  jigsaw puzzles, mysteries, and other brain games are all used as a way to relax. What is it about a puzzle or a problem that soothes, even while they present a sometimes frustrating challenge?

Puzzles captivate us at the same time they taunt and provoke us.

While the hands are busy, the mind can wander — or focus

While we work on puzzles, our hands are occupied while at a deeper level our brain is sorting and making sense of random patterns. We aren’t consciously aware of this work. In fact, we’re focused more on images and shapes, which are often so much more fun.

Puzzles engage the brain

  • Puzzles engage the brain by provoking thought and vocabulary, urging us to conceptualize language in ways we might not typically use in daily conversation.
  • Regular use of puzzles has real psychological benefits, including:

Improved memory

Short-term memory is enhanced as clues are retained for solving puzzles. Imagination is also stimulated as the bigger picture is incorporated.

Heightened creativity

Every innovative and creative idea we have in solving puzzles adds to healthy brain functioning. This type of thinking often leads to innovative, precognitive, and efficient problem-solving skills over all.

Integrated brain utilization

Solving puzzles and problems require both logical skills and creativity, utilizing diverse brain functioning. This integrated approach results in both more effective and in more profound and sustainable understanding.

Dopamine production

The neurotransmitter, dopamine, is produced when doing puzzles. Dopamine assists in our ability to concentrate, be optimistic, have confidence and increase memory.


Perhaps the busy hands, calm mind best explains the meditative impact puzzles have but research shows that puzzles do in fact simultaneously activate our brains while relaxing us psychologically. They put our brains into a meditative state.

They’re relaxing

  • There’s no shortage of options with puzzles. You can choose between images of jigsaw puzzles of dream vacations, future goals, ultimate house depictions, etc. Time spent working on a jigsaw puzzle can be effectively visualizing a future goal, seeing the end result.
  • People approach puzzles in different manners yet all appear to relax them. Whether they  systematically organize the puzzle shapes before starting or  dump the pieces in a pile and random chose until they find a fit -- the result is a satisfying and relaxing sigh.

But the benefits aren't limited to jigsaw, crossword, and brain puzzles. Any puzzle that requires problem solving has equivalent benefits. Problems, and their solutions, provide meaning.

We do puzzles because we have a relentless urge to create order out of chaos. That alone is worth the peace it offers.

So take those little pieces, breathe deeply, and put your world in order.

Want help sorting out the pieces in your life? Jan L Bowen is a passionately authentic thought leader who helps clients align their lives so they find more joy and greater connection through articulating and living their purpose. Ever have trouble figuring out your purpose? Get help on how to do that by taking Jan's Life Purpose Quiz

This article was originally published at Jan L. Bowen. Reprinted with permission from the author.