Turn off the news and embrace this relaxing pastime.

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If you're feeling stressed out by the coronavirus pandemic, you may have tried journaling, meditation, yoga, and deep-breathing. If those don't do the trick for you, or if you just want to incorporate a new hobby into your daily routine, consider starting a jigsaw puzzle. According to CNN, everyone from celebrities and professional athletes to regular people everywhere are showcasing their jigsaw puzzle skills on social media. The analog activity offers a multitude of benefits—in addition to serving as a way to pass the time during self-isolation and quarantine, they're also known to help relieve feelings of stress and anxiety.

putting together puzzle
Credit: Getty / LOUISE BEAUMONT

"Doing puzzles is extremely satisfying not only because you are solving something, but also because you can control achieving the positive outcome," Dr. Claudia Luiz, a psychoanalyst author of the book The Making of a Psychoanalyst: Studies in Emotional Education, told MEL Magazine. And with so much uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic, it can feel good to have complete control over something and know that there will be a reward at the end.

So, why do puzzles work? According to Amanda Kahle, owner of Inner Piece, an online jigsaw puzzle shop, puzzles are relaxing and a good distraction from day-to-day stress. "They reduce your fight or flight response because it serves as a distraction—the good kind," she says. "You're mentally looking for patterns, making connections, and that's firing off different parts of your brain that then influence hormone responses."

Plus, puzzles are a way to fill your free time and wind down at the end of the night without looking at a screen or watching the news, both of which can cause you to have trouble falling—and staying—asleep. But this isn't the only old-fashioned hobby taking the world by storm during the coronavirus pandemic. People are taking up other activities such as adult coloring books, needlework such as needlepoint, knitting, and crocheting, and baking.

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