Mental Health Benefits of Puzzles & Games

Mental Health Benefits of Puzzles & Games

According to science, improving your mental health could be as easy as child’s play. Puzzles and games, including board games and crosswords, aren’t just made for fun. Studies suggest they might have mental health and cognitive benefits as well! Depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation are all common struggles. However, puzzles and games can have a positive impact on almost all of these conditions. All work and no play can lead to stress, and furthermore, negative mental health consequences. Puzzles and games, according to research, could lead to the development of better memory, sharper cognition, and less general stress.

Mental Health Benefits of Puzzles & Games

Here’s what to know about the mental health benefits of puzzles and games on an active mind.

Spatial Awareness

Having good spatial awareness means that you are physically in tune with your surroundings. Spatial awareness is how we navigate and solve problems of a physical or three-dimensional variety. Spatial awareness is an essential, but practiced skill.

Puzzles and games can help improve spatial awareness. This is especially true for games that are played with an environmental aspect (or board) like chess and checkers.

The better you are at board games that require a way around physical obstacles, the better your spatial awareness could be as a result.

Problem Solving

Puzzles and games present obstacles and then entice us to find our way around these problems using problem-solving skills. Playing games like chess, checkers, wordle, and crosswords, or solving puzzles can help keep your brain active and improve problem-solving skills.

Even when the obstacles you are trying to solve aren’t on a chess board, your brain builds new connections every time you have learned something new about the game in question.


Games like poker and chess all have one thing in common. Playing these games on a regular basis has been scientifically proven to improve short-term memory as well as long-term memory.

If you keep forgetting where you put your keys or where to find your phone’s charging cable, it could be a memory issue. Stress, age, and factors like diet can all impact how well your memory works.

Nonetheless, playing games on a regular basis can improve your memory considerably. You might even notice that you remember small things more often as you increase your time spent solving crossword puzzles, and jigsaw puzzles.

The Social Aspect

People are social creatures by nature. Even if you aren’t an extrovert, it can still be nice to have some company once in a while. Puzzles and games have a natural social aspect that can both improve your social skills and lighten stress levels, as well as depression and anxiety.

Whether you just speak to forum members about the game or if you interact with them more often, experts say that the social interaction that comes with puzzles and games is actually good for you.

Playing puzzles and games can also improve your social awareness skills. If you aren’t a social butterfly, getting into the gaming and puzzle scene can teach you how to meet people and interact with them through a common interest.

The Immune System

According to several university studies on the topic of games, the interaction that comes with puzzles and games can naturally improve the immune system.

As the body comes into contact with more people on a regular basis, it learns a natural immunity against the most common infections.

Worried about your immune system? Attend game night or a tournament more often. Experts say that it’s good for you, too.

Reduced Risk of Mental Health Conditions

There’s significant proof out there that shows mental health conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can benefit from a busy mind.

If you are able to form constant neural connections through puzzles, games, and problem solving, then you are at a significantly reduced risk of developing dementia (or any conditions related to it) later on in life.

Games like bridge, poker, and chess all contribute to a busy mind. Daily crosswords can also improve your vocabulary. It turns out that playing Scrabble can actually teach your brain a thing or two.

Who said games and puzzles were pointless?

Helpful Information: 10 Games and Puzzles to Exercise Your Brain

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I, Carly Spring, M.S., LIMHP, LADC, CPC, offer my specialized expertise to assist in the healing process to anyone who may be experiencing and suffering from a vast spectrum of mental health issues. Such mental health issues include behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, grief, loss, trauma, addiction issues, and life transitions. I believe strongly in applying a holistic perspective addressing your whole person not just the bits and pieces of you. Contact us with any questions or to discuss gambling addiction services in Omaha today.