5 Health Benefits of Doing Crossword Puzzles

Do you want a fun way to elevate your mood, reduce stress and prevent dementia? Consider starting a crossword puzzle habit.

Dec 21†is National Crossword Puzzle Day, in honor of the very first crossword puzzle published on Dec 21, 1913, in the New York World Newspaper. Since then, crosswords have exploded in popularity. Theyíre now available online, in daily newspapers and in countless puzzle books.

Research is revealing that crosswords are far from pointless time wasters. They provide many benefits for your mental and physical wellbeing. Whether you enjoy beginner puzzles or brain-benders, thereís a crossword puzzle out there for you. Give one a try today and experience the health benefits of crossword puzzles first hand. And, of course, have fun doing it!

1. Crossword Puzzles Improve Your Mood

Thereís something very satisfying about completing a crossword puzzle. And that sense of satisfaction is more beneficial than it might first appear. It causes your brain to produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel pleasure and bliss. Dopamine is often released as youíre working towards a goal, with a final burst when you achieve the goal. Itís one of natureís ways of keeping us happy and motivated as we go through life.

But dopamine will naturally drop if you receive no stimulation or excitement over time. And low levels of dopamine can result in feelings of apathy, depression and low energy. Whereas, including small goals and achievements throughout your week will naturally keep up your dopamine levels. So, that thrill of accomplishment when you solve a crossword will help keep you feeling excited and energetic about life in general.

2. They Lower Your Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Mental stimulation has been proven to help prevent age-related neurological disorders like dementia and Alzheimerís disease. A University of California, Berkeley, study found the more often someone engages in mentally demanding activities, such as reading or doing crosswords, the less buildup they have in their brains of certain toxic proteins that can lead to diseases like Alzheimerís.

Including cognitively challenging hobbies and tasks in your early and middle years seemed to be especially helpful in preventing the accumulation of these toxic proteins. Another scientific review concluded that the mental stimulation provided by leisure activities like crossword puzzles may also delay the onset of dementia.

3. They Reduce Stress

Crosswords are a fun, engaging way to take your mind off everyday worries for a while. They provide excellent ďalone timeĒ where you can safely decompress and unwind.

In fact, research has shown that intellectually demanding activities like crossword puzzles or chess may be more effective for reducing anxiety than supposedly relaxing activities like watching TV or shopping.

Related: Harness the Power of Daydreams

4.†They Enhance Your Verbal Skills

The mental task of putting words together in a crossword puzzle can also help your language skills. An Irish study looked at a group of university students who did one simple crossword puzzle per day for 4 weeks. They noticeably improved their verbal communication skills compared to those who did not do any puzzles.

5. They Make a Great Social Activity

Crossword puzzles donít always have to be a solitary pursuit. Consider doing one with a family member or a group of friends. Research has shown that working in a team can improve your speed of thinking and talking. You can also strengthen your collaboration and dispute resolution skills.

Doing crosswords with others can be a great way to bond and share experiences. As an added bonus, everyone will get the same health benefits while creating happy memories together.

Related at Care2

 

 

 

380 comments

Barbara M
Barbara M4 days ago

thank you for sharing

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s6 days ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s6 days ago

Thank you

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heather g
heather g7 days ago

Would love to do a crossword with a friend - but others don't seem interested.

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s7 days ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s7 days ago

Thank you

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Jim Ven
Jim V12 days ago

Thank you

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Jim Ven
Jim V12 days ago

Thank you

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Jerome S
Jerome S12 days ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S12 days ago

thanks

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