A few days ago I opened a new puzzle- the first in many years. Instantly, memories came flooding back to me. My dad and I used to sit down with a puzzle, planning our attack on it. For him, it was probably an opportunity for a lecture or lesson in patience and methodology, but it never felt that way to me. It was just naturally calming; relaxation therapy (though I may not have grasped the full scope of it at the time).
We would pull out all of the edge pieces first, then group them by color and move them to the appropriate side according to picture. We would divide the puzzle load between us; one would do the grass, while the other would do the sky.
What's strange about this activity being so calming is that part of what made me look forward to it was the excitement of searching for pieces. I always loved the feeling of my anxiety rising as I came upon a piece that I had been searching for, for so long-only to figure out that it was not an actual fit. Then the search (and anxiety) would start all over again.
I know, call me a dork, but this was (and is even more so now) the best way to escape everyday stress and routine. The day could be wiped away with an hour or two at a table with a puzzle.There have even been times as an adult that I was able to focus more on some thing or situation in particular that I was having trouble with.
Aside from playing the piano or sheer venting to a good girlfriend, there is no better therapy. A good puzzle just clears the haze, even if only temporarily.
So what's your therapy?