On the first day with family at the beach house, the hassles of life fade. The serious players surround the glass table with fresh mudslides at hand. They empty the box and keep it nearby for reference. Pieces are organized by shape, color or some neurotic way to sort them.
Energy fills the sunroom. The quiet contemplation is only broken when wavy edges nestle together with a snap. The satisfying vacation activity draws people in. At least for a few hours until nightly fatigue or a hankering for Fisher’s caramel popcorn becomes overwhelming. Day after day, the picture extend across the surface like a flower at sunrise on a time-lapse video, our horizons expand.
Despite the silicone oil tapenade moving around in my eye, I can still match a piece or two every summer. It’s fun. And yet, I don’t crave jigsaw puzzling away from the beach. But maybe I should reconsider the amount of time I spend testing pieces here and there. According to a study mentioned in New York‘s Science of Us section, it’s actually the best way to solve other problems of life. Like a person who thinks in the shower, or takes a walk, puzzles appear to have the power to unlock creative blocks in our brains. An activity requiring light cognitive effort allows us to short circuit a fixation on another issue. The larger issue moves to our subconscious and in time, a solution pops up.
Perhaps you’re stuck on something. Can’t forget it. Can’t move on until you figure out what to do. We all have struggles. It might be a major issue, affecting others, or maybe it’s something personal that happens frequently enough to be noticed. The next time you’re feeling stuck, try a puzzle or a walk or just shampoo your hair. Solve a problem by doing something else. It might be the break you need.
What is bothering you? How do you solve things? Has an idea recently come to you out of nowhere? What activities do you do to take your mind off a problem? Tell me about it.