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Mental health: Advantages of crossword puzzles

It may not be your cup of tea to pick up a newspaper with the intention of completing the crossword puzzle within, but it may be in your best interests to seek out those puzzles, be it in the newspaper or elsewhere. 
Studies have shown that individuals can benefit from regularly completing crossword puzzles. For example, researchers from King’s College London and the University of Exeter Medical School found that those who regularly engaged in word puzzles showed cognition levels that were the same as those equal to someone 10 years younger than them. In fact, the more often individuals completed word puzzles, the better their performance on executive function tests including attention, reasoning, and memory. 
Daily crossword puzzles are beneficial in other ways, too!

1. Stress relief

Stressors in life can vary in their source, but word puzzles (including crosswords) can be a way to relieve stress by offering a valuable way to relax. By taking little breaks absorbed in completing your daily puzzle, it can help you to feel happier and calmer.

2. Memory preservation

Many cognitive benefits arise from exercising your brain by completing a word puzzle, including the preservation of your memory and executive function. This can be enhanced even further by increasing the difficulty level of the puzzle, timing yourself, or using fewer materials to help you solve them.

3. Vocabulary boost

One of the biggest benefits of crosswords is that they can help to build your vocabulary. By completing crossword puzzles, you’re constantly trying to remember words you know (but may not have used for a long time) and you might even seek them out in a dictionary if you don’t know them yet, all of which leads to boosting your vocabulary skills.

4. Brain health

By completing a word puzzle, you’re recollecting information from your past to help you find the solution. Dementia experts suggest that this helps to strengthen the neural connections in the brain whilst boosting happiness because revisiting your memories not only strengthens your memory but contributes to a healthier brain. This also involves forming new neural connections. The leisurely stimulation of the brain is advantageous in preventing the onset of dementia as well by building a stronger ageing brain.

5. Social sustenance

Even though some people might prefer to complete crossword puzzles by themselves, there are also those who like to complete them with friends and/or family. The latter can improve social bonds through conversation and having fun. These are advantageous as social connections can help you to improve your quality of life and even lift your spirits.
Whether your go-to puzzle is a crossword, word search, or something else, your brain will thank you for it in the long run. At Greenstaff Medical, we encourage well-being so we’re always on the lookout for ways to improve mental and physical health. If you’re interested in making a change and join a team that cares, take a look at some of our jobs or reach out to us via email or our contact page