Surprise Puzzle Addiction

Have you ever tried to do a very complicated puzzle? Have you ever wondered why once you start the puzzle, it is intoxicating to finish it? Let me tell you, I had no idea how addictive a complex puzzle would be.

My husband and I decided to choose something to do together. Thinking it would be like…a date night and/ or scheduled time together to relax and maybe drink a glass a wine. Seemed like an inexpensive and relaxing way to connect and chat.

We decided to tackle a moderately difficult puzzle, 1000 pieces. We set it up on the table in the living room and asked our teens to join in the fun. We started with organizing the frame pieces and putting the edges together. This was fun and we did this within an hour or so and called it a night.

The second night was a Friday. We got about 15% of the inside puzzle completed and then something clicked in us that changed the way we were thinking. Now, we are thinking it’s not going fast enough. We need a new strategy to tackle the sub pieces in the puzzle. Piece sorting and categorizing started in. After setting up the new strategy, with the sorted pieces we called it a night.

Well, Saturday we were all ready to go. And boy did we go. We were hunched over that puzzle for 8-10 hours that day. It was like we were on a mission to complete this puzzle. We missed breakfast, and one of us broke away to make some sustenance to get us through lunchtime. Full on addiction. By Sunday morning we had completed the puzzle. Success. Accomplishment.

I’m exploring why puzzles do this to us. I heard that the mind with a clear goal can get into Flow and even increase dopamine production with the sense of accomplishment of each piece. I’ve also heard that a puzzle can bring you to a state of meditation or mindfulness. My next post I will try to find some research on the benefits of puzzles and also start another one.