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Archive for October 10th, 2007

Thatched Roof (c) Lynda Bernhardt

Working on puzzles is a great way to cope when you are feeling very emotional. My father died suddenly when I was a teenager. Each time somebody asked what he could do for me, I asked him to bring me a jigsaw puzzle. For weeks, all I did was work on jigsaw puzzles while listening to the radio. I could not tell you why I was so obsessed with jigsaws puzzles, only that putting them together made me feel better.

Jigsaw puzzles are not the only type of puzzle that will do the trick. Any type of puzzle that engages the logical part of your brain will help to counter your emotions, including Sudoku puzzles, crossword puzzles, or even a game of Tetris on the computer. The key is to get your brain focusing on logic for a while rather than on your emotions.

Why does this work? My best guess is that engaging the logical part of your brain balances out your overwhelming emotions. Doing a puzzle does not repress your emotions but, instead, shifts for your focus for a while onto something more concrete, which can help you ride out the emotions and feel more balanced.

I have used this coping tool for years, so it was nice to have this tool in my coping skills toolbox when the emotions from my childhood exploded out of me. I bought big books of Sudoku puzzles, and I asked my husband to save the crossword puzzles from the Sunday newspapers. Whenever I felt very emotional, I would either watch television or listen to the radio while doing some type of puzzle. I always felt better, even if it was just for a little while.

Related Topic:

Positive Coping Tools for Healing from Childhood Abuse

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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