The first-ever crossword puzzle rain in the New York World newspaper on 21 December 1913. Since then, crosswords have spread across many platforms in addition to newspapers- Magazines, computer games, and even mobile phone applications! They aren’t just a great way to relax, there are even a plethora of studies that show how they’re easily used for multiple beneficial purposes. Take a look at various applications and advantages below.
Learning specialized vocabulary
Research by Corina Sandiuc and Alina Balagiu suggests that the mastery of vocabulary for specialized languages represents a key element in learners’ professional development. They explain that “Crossword puzzles can be one way for learners to experience such learning, since they are beneficial on a number of different levels: they are entertaining and challenging vocabulary practice tools, they stimulate student motivation and autonomy, and they lead to better vocabulary awareness and retention”. While the research was based on the premise of teaching maritime English vocabulary, it can also be applied to the healthcare industry’s specialized terminology as evidenced by research published in the International Journal of Research in Medical Science in 2018..
Detach from work during breaks
An interesting study performed by Fourie, Els, and de Beer in 2020 found that crossword puzzles can be a great way to detach yourself from work while taking a break. Needless to say, when you’re on a break, you’re more than likely willing to distance yourself from daily responsibilities so that you can relax. Their research suggests that in order to have happy employees, these employees need to experience more pleasure at work and positive events such as crossword puzzles can lead to positive emotions thereby increasing personal resources, lowering exhaustion levels, and experiencing higher levels of vigour.
Learning a second language
A paper published in 2017 by Myrzakadyrovna, Alina, and Zhuldyz found that crossword puzzles can be used as a teaching aid for teaching English as a Second Language. Crossword puzzles in different forms (mystery tasks, new vocabulary, problem-solving, and judgment decisions, to name a few) can help students to expand their vocabulary and deepen their learning of English vocabulary. If you’re considering improving your English vocabulary, whether you’re taking classes or not, crossword puzzles just might be the aid that you need to get to the next level.
A study performed by Sin Sung Baek and Jae Hee Lee, later published in the Audiology and Speech Research Journal in 2016, involved creating a version of crossword puzzles where clues were provided in auditory format through either a sentence or a series of words to help participants figure out the answers. The researchers found that this variant of crossword puzzle can be useful for adults regardless of age and can be a better way to maintain motivation of auditory training compared to conventional training activities of sentence or word repetition when assisting those in the rehabilitation of the hearing impaired.
An article in the American Nurse Today journal sited research by Bernadette Melnyk that discusses how crossword puzzles can stimulate intellectual well-being. As a nurse, learning new procedures and protocols alongside handling different responsibilities can require time to adjust. While it may be frustrating at times, adaptation is good for your muscles (just like the brain) to grow and strengthen. She says that “When you learn a new skill or concept, attempt to understand a different viewpoint, or exercise your mind with puzzles and games, you're building intellectual well-being” and this is exactly what crossword puzzles can help you to achieve.
Whether you’re doing crossword puzzles for pleasure or personal growth, the benefits are the same. At Cromwell Medical, we love them for both reasons, and we hope you are able to reap the benefits, too! If you’d like to join a team that cares about mental, physical, and professional growth, get in touch with us or take a look at some of our vacancies and let us know if you’re interested.