The Surprising Ways Word Puzzles Can Help Relieve Stress

April 23, 2024 2 min read

The world is a stressful place. In spite of the worldwide connection provided to you by that tiny computer in your pocket, access to a 24/7 news cycle and social media algorithms designed to keep you “doomscrolling” for hours aren’t exactly favorable to good mental health. In the age of too much screen time, how can you manage your stress in a positive way? Read on for some surprising ways that word puzzles can help relieve stress.

1. Word puzzles require you to use your brain for something other than worrying.

Are you a worry-wart or a chronic overthinker? Then you know from experience that sometimes all you need is something to interrupt the constant flow of anxious thoughts. Word puzzles like crosswords and cryptograms provide an enjoyable, low stakes means of reducing stress by gently interrupting anxious thinking patterns and requiring you to think about something completely different. There is a word search out there for every possible topic that might interest you, so you don't need to settle.

2. Word puzzles can be meditative.

There is quite a bit of scholarly material out there espousing the mental benefits of meditation. While not identical to traditional meditation, puzzles like word searches allow you to quiet your mind and can be very relaxing for your brain and help you enter a state of mental relaxation which can have myriad benefits such as better sleep, reduced anxiety and better focus.

3. Word puzzles can provide relief from the physical effects of stress. 

Studies suggest that just 6 minutes of reading can reduce muscle tension and slow your heart rate. Therefore, word puzzles can help you de-stress physically as well as mentally. This is especially important considering the wide range of physical ailments that can result from prolonged stress, from chronic headaches to digestive issues. A few minutes unwinding with a good word search can actually have a protective effect on your overall health!

Word puzzles provide a powerful means of relaxation, helping to quiet your mind, interrupt and distract from anxious thoughts and calm your body as you read and write to solve puzzles. There is nothing to lose and much to gain by setting down the smartphone and starting a word puzzle habit for your physical and mental health. Check out the full Puzzle Favorites line of word puzzle books to find a topic that interests you, and start relaxing today!