Sunday, November 21, 2010

Jolting the Brain Waves

I've been watching reruns of Harry Potter (plus I/VII, yes I loved it) and Pirates of the Caribbean. Visiting relatives. Trekking to Gainesville to apply for unemployment benefits (please pray that I have a valid claim). Dreaming. Pondering the new story. Just in case you missed me.

Am I hiding out? Me? Yeah, probably.

I am also piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. Obsessively.

I recently read a post by Tabitha Bird that reminded me how much I love jigsaw puzzles. I searched through scores of them at the local Super Walmart and selected one of an English castle adorned with beautiful flowers.

Castle Gardens by Mega Puzzles


I chose this particular one, NOT because it has 1500 pieces, but because my new novel starts out in medieval England. Plus, I love flowers and beautiful gardens.

A phenomenon occurs when performing mundane tasks, the mind has a way of wandering. Ponderizing, as my friend Eric calls it.

Doing jigsaws, on the other hand, requires the brain to pay attention. There is little wandering going on as the eye searches and matches endless hues of colors, shapes and textures.

But it does put the brain in to an alpha meditative state which brings calm, peace and quiet. It also integrates the use of both sides of the brain, increases dopamine output, and gives one a sense of making order out of chaos. It flexes the mind leading to a longer life and to a better quality of life.

Puzzle in Progress

But mostly, for me, I'm hoping it does this:

"...The jigsaw puzzle is a metaphor for life. Challenges we face with our jobs, relationships, and health can leave us confused and overwhelmed. These challenges are easily likened to the fragmented jigsaw puzzle, with so many disconnected pieces and no clear starting point. By physically piecing a jigsaw puzzle together while in a powerfully creative meditative state, we are shifting the focus in our subconscious from confusion and inundation to proactively working on the solution. We become “rewired” to take a more balanced, holistic view of our lives, considering all the little pieces, but also how they fit into the big picture. We begin to make connections between things that may have previously seemed unrelated, such as relationships between our emotions and our state of health. Patterns begin to make sense as we focus that positive energy and apply it within our own lives. As the jigsaw puzzle takes shape, the different parts of our lives start coming together to form a sensible picture..." ~ excerpt from a fantastic article by Trish Donroe Parker, Homeopath and Owner of Connections, Jigsaw Puzzles for Healing.

It doesn't hurt that working on jigsaw puzzles also enhances creativity. Yeehaa.

Of course, according to research at the University of Liverpool, I could read Shakespeare and get many of these same effects. Who knew?

What do you do to exercise your brain? Read Shakespeare? Work jigsaw puzzles? Meditate? Sit and stare at the clouds?

Walmart Clouds



~ Olivia J. Herrell


11 comments:

Jamie Gibbs (Mithril Wisdom) said...

Nice choice of puzzle :D I'm a fan of the mighty jigsaw, though I've not done one in a while.
My brain exerciser is doing Picross puzzles (also called Hanjie or Nonograms). The same logic as Sudoku but you get a perdy picture at the end :P

Elliot Grace said...

...the art of the jigsaw generates brain activity like rainfall from an angry cloud. I grew up watching my grandmother master the patient art of creating a portrait...piece by piece.
Have a wonderful weekend, Olivia:)
EL

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Enjoyed the post, I love jig saws used to do many when the children were small.

Yvonne.

The Words Crafter said...

My sister, while in Germany with her first husband (military wife) used to gather with the other wives and make tacos and drink beer and they would put one of those monsters together in one night. I can't do one in a month, sober! Kudos to you!

I like my Brain Age games on Nintendo DSLite. I even beat it once, when I played regularly. I like those kinds of puzzles, do they count?

Sounds like you've been busy and I'm intrigued by the setting of your new wip.....

Mary Vaughn said...

I've always been a great fan of Jigsaw Puzzles. Great memories from my childhood with a favorite aunt and uncle.
Either we live near each other or WalMart a also cornered the market on clouds. I swear the same ones were here today.

Cinette said...

What a great idea! Stress relief and creative stimulation. I'm going to dig out the Teddy Bear puzzle I have somewhere.

Sandra said...

That puzzle frightens me! Good for you for tackling it!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

That's a beautiful, but intimidating, puzzle to assemble. I usually just take out a deck of cards and play Solitare when I need a time-out of regular life. :)
Those clouds are spectacular, by the way.

J.C. Martin said...

Apart from practising my Wing Chun, which can be as relaxing as Tai Chi, I also like doing Logic Problems like this: http://www.squiglysplayhouse.com/PencilPuzzles/More/AnimalLogicPuzzle.gif

Postman said...

I've really been neglecting you lately, haven't I? I'm sorry, friend.

Holy cow. This is too much of a coincidence. I'm doing a jigsaw puzzle too, a 1,000 piecer. It's a tradition in my family this time of year to do one (with a nice autumn scene on it, usually a painting by Charles Wysocki or somebody).

I can readily see the 'metaphor for life' analogy, especially where 'feeling confused and overwhelmed' comes in. It takes a long time and a lot of pain, suffering and confusion to round out a life, that's for dang sure.

Erica Woolridge said...

I'm more of a crossword puzzle sort of girl, jigsaw puzzles hurt my brain :p So many pieces!

Loving the pirate theme, great movies to decompress with :)

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