The Truth About Playing Puzzles And Crosswords — Spoiler Alert: They Won’t Make You Smarter

If you are wondering that playing crosswords or other puzzle games could make you smarter than ever – here is the catch. Several studies show that it may, unfortunately, be quite the opposite. Puzzles and crosswords are advertised as educational tools or easy and effective ways to make you intelligent. But, these are just mentally stimulating and do not necessarily have any broader applications to real-life tasks.

You may feel you are becoming more patient, or your problem-solving skills are getting better, but that can be said for other games as well. And it is possible that you may just get better at a particular (type of) puzzle.

What actually adds to your smartness is eating healthy, exercising more, sleeping well, and socializing. That is the real mantra of life – believable and practical.

What puzzles certainly can do is be more entertaining and engaging for the players. Ones like picross or jigsaw are satisfying to do and are a perfect form of recreation. But you can be trained for these particular tasks, and that is where the benefits restrict. These skills tend to be very specific and have no transfer. Scientists do not yet know the long-term effects or benefits of playing puzzles; what they know is puzzles better us only at puzzle solving. No evidence supports the claims that puzzles increase your intellect.

So instead of playing such games to get better, researchers urge people to get moving and active. Games are passive forms of entertainment, you can certainly give them some of your time, but relying on puzzles to improve your life in a meaningful manner is just a misleading thought.

Certain types of puzzles are so absorbing that you may even lose track of time or anything else that may be troubling you. You can enjoy these alone or play with your gang to slow down a bit from the otherwise hectic or tedious life. For those few minutes or hours, you are very much in tune with these games, but nothing goes beyond that. There is a sense of satisfaction when you solve a challenge, but it is only short-term gratification.

If you like playing games like Sudoku, picross, or jigsaw, there is no harm. But the chances are that you are better off giving yourself some downtime. If you solve crosswords every day, you might get really good at it. The same goes for games like Sudoku or picross. But their effects do not spill over to other untrained areas such as planning or decision-making.

To build and maintain robust health, eliminate tasks that work against your wellbeing. Cut ties with technology for at least an hour daily. Have a balanced diet and incorporate the needed nutrients. Undergo endurance and strength training regularly. Sleep for at least six to eight hours. And take up puzzling challenges to overcome boredom and not replace it as a mental supplement.


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