Right now, youre probably in one of two groups:
Group A: Loves crossword puzzles and is currently looking to see how theyre getting smarter with the hobby.
Group B: Doesnt do crosswords yet, but is considering taking it up as a hobby if the benefits are good enough.
Youre in luck: Doing crossword puzzles does help you with a number of different things, and when compared against other brain games (such as sudoku), it stacks up pretty well. (All brain games help different skills, but crossword puzzles improve quite a few areas of your life.)
Read on to learn how youre getting better as a person – or how you could potentially be getting better!
Skill #1 – Vocabulary
Of course, when youre trying to find obscure words and connect them with other obscure words, youre going to get a firm grasp on words you might never use in your everyday life.
Theres more to it than that, though. When youre doing this thinking between words, youll be considering all of the words that dont fit, too. This action is enough for your vocabulary to improve – when youre reaching for a word in a sentence, your subconscious will automatically pick the one thats most apt.
This benefit is exclusive to word-based brain teasers, and more specifically, crossword puzzles and scrabble.
Skill #2 – Critical thinking
Youre ultimately trying to solve each clue with a word – but before you do that, youre thinking about the clue, trying to decipher what type of word might be relevant for the space.
Sometimes clues are difficult; sometimes theyre not. Whats important is that youre giving the problem-solving department of your brain a necessary workout. If youre staying sharp mentally, your decisions and reactions in your everyday life will improve.
Skill #3 – Patience
A crossword puzzle is one of those things where no matter how good you are, youll still get stumped on certain clues/words and have to work through them with patience. Even the old-timers who have been doing crosswords their whole lives have these moments.
The crossword puzzle will test your patience – if youre someone who can practice patience and power through the harder clues, youll be more patient in every other area of your life, too.
Skill #4 – Focus
You have to be in a certain mindset to complete a crossword puzzle. You cant be distracted, multitasking, or anything of that nature. You might be able to be eating, listening to music, or sipping a coffee… but your main activity is the crossword puzzle and the clues on the page.
In 2015, its rare to have activities that require this level of focus. For example, even if youre browsing a news-related website to try and do something productive, youre still prompted to click between articles on a whim. Crosswords arent like that, and by practicing your focus every day, youll be able to call that level of focus to attention whenever you need it in your everyday life.
Finally, we have possibly the most useful attribute you get from completing something – confidence.
It feel great to finish off a crossword puzzle, especially if you were having trouble with it. Eventually, as you get better and better at playing, the confidence you have in being able to complete crossword puzzles will skyrocket.
That will translate into more confidence in all areas of your life – as humans, we derive our macho from what were good at. You just have to stick with it, because at first, youll likely be struggling – just as you will with anything youre a beginner at!
All things considered, crossword puzzles are a fantastic way to get smarter and improve yourself as a person overall. Check out our writeup on the best resources for finding free crosswords and to get started (or continue your obsession) right away.