Mindfulness through Building Puzzles

Every day is sort of a jigsaw puzzle.
You have to make sure that you’re putting the most important things first.

– Julia Hartz –

Mindfulness has become the buzzword of recent years. But what is mindfulness and how do we achieve it?

Mindfulness is all about an appreciation for the present moment, examining who we are, and cultivating a sense of unity with ourselves and the world around us. Many try to adopt a mindful lifestyle in order to reduce stress and maintain a sense of self and peace amidst a busy and hectic schedule. By introducing some practices and routines into your life, you can improve your awareness and get into the habit of understanding your own mind and how it influences your perceptions and actions.

One way of fitting mindfulness into our every-day busy schedules is to actively seek out new ways to relax and recharge away from our desks and electronic devices.  One of the most popular tools (especially for women) to do this has been adult colouring books. Another way – and my personal favourite – is to build jigsaw puzzles.

Surprised? It really is that easy. It is a known fact that jigsaw puzzles allow the brain to relax while keeping the mind focused and the hands busy – with seriously positive effects on your mood. Actually, achieving little goals which we have set for ourselves, strengthens our self-confidence and brings us inner harmony and satisfaction.

If the puzzle is very detailed, the importance of every piece to make the picture come alive is key. Much like life, just looking at one puzzle piece does not speak to me, however if I find its place in the bigger section then the whole puzzle comes alive.

What do researchers say?

According to scientific studies, completing a jigsaw puzzle can put our brains into the same meditative state that we experience while dreaming. The meticulous nature of a jigsaw puzzle doesn’t only allow the subconscious to deal with a problem that needs to be analysed and solved, but can also help promote the re-assessment of decisions we make. Seeing if a piece will fit based on size or colour, and re-assessing where that piece may go if it doesn’t fit is good practice for evaluating our daily choices. It also teaches us the patience to figure out how to adjust these choices if necessary.

Lessons learned

Consider for a moment that your life is a puzzle. It may be a simple puzzle with a hundred different pieces, or it may be a more complicated thousand-piece puzzle with a picture that’s rather tricky to put together. Either way, as you work through this puzzle of life, you’re more than likely going to try forcing some wrong pieces into the empty spaces. They look as though they should fit, but as you continue, it becomes clear to you that they’re just not meant to line up that way. So what do you have to do? Well, break it apart, of course, and reassemble those pieces the right way.

  • Do not discount the small details.
  • Do not discard something just because it is not clear or not talking to you on its own.
  • Look for the place where it fits the best and note the impact it has on the bigger structure or picture.
  • Be patient when looking for the right pieces; there’s no need to rush, it’s not a race or competition.
  • When tired or bored walk away – do something else and come back later to focus and escape…

If life is like a puzzle, as Joyce Meyer puts it, we have to work to fill in the pieces, as we move towards the big picture vision that we have for our lives. Every piece has its own specific place and purpose for completing our visions. God will give you the vision and all the pieces that you need to complete that vision. But the pieces don’t come with directions and they definitely don’t come with instructions for where to put them! That’s what God is for. In our walks with the Lord, we have to continually look to Him for indications of how to fill in the pieces and what steps we need to take in life.

6 thoughts on “Mindfulness through Building Puzzles

  1. We suggest that attentional training in mindful movement practices such as Tai Chi or Feldenkrais Awareness-Through-Movement (ATM; described in the section Mindful Movement Practice) provides multiple additional opportunities for sensation as compared to the process of attending to the body at rest as in a body scan. Most importantly, movement reliably in body sensations for both the practitioner and the teacher, thereby providing concrete, differentiated, immediate and continuous feedback about the processes. Further, the control of movement also generates feed-forward predictions of sensory consequences ( Wolpert et al., 2011 ) that allow a concrete sensory comparison between the expected and the actual sensations resulting from the movement that are used in error-based or predictive motor learning processes that are dependent on prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum ( Blakemore et al., 2001 ; Shadmehr et al., 2010 ; Alexander and Brown, 2011 ). While clearly not all motor learning signals are penetrable to consciousness, the degree of conscious penetrability of both types of sensorimotor signals has been related to awareness and abnormalities in the sensation of the body ( Blakemore et al., 2002 ). In a movement practice, the processing of these signals may be modified by attentional focus, and the practitioner may also become aware by distinguishing sensorimotor sensations via mindful

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