Putting together a jigsaw puzzle is Nicole Osmond's Christmas tradition. No matter how difficult the puzzle, she always finds herself in a state of relaxation.
This is what inspired her to start selling puzzles through her business, Peace by Piece Puzzles, which she launched last year during mental health week.
Along with a beautiful, tranquil image, every Peace by Piece Puzzle carries an inspirational verse written by Osmond's twin sister Natalie Ducey.
"The idea of blending an inspiration message with that therapeutic experience...what a great way to add another layer of support and a message of love, a message of understanding for people using that exercise," said Osmond in an interview with NEWS 95.7.
The two sisters come from a military family, and have seen the impact of PTSD on loved ones. It inspired Osmond to share the peace of mind jigsaw puzzles gave her with the public, hoping that people struggling with mental illness will be able to find the same kind of peace.
"It really induces a certain calmness and a peace in your mind. Your mind is just at rest," she said.
According to Osmond, multiple studies have been done showing the therapeutic benefits jigsaw puzzles can have, including the MacArthur study, which found that puzzles exercise and engage both the right and left side of the brain, which can prevent dementia and Alzheimer's.
"You're visualizing the puzzle, you're concentrating. It's expanding your creativity. You're looking at the image in a larger way. It's small pieces but a large outcome that you're directing your energy toward."
While stimulating the brain, putting together puzzles can also put you in a meditative state, she says.
There are also a number of physical benefits: it lowers your breath rate, your heart rate and your blood pressure, says Osmond.
"So everything is kind of linking back to all these positive aspects of it," she said.
Peace by Piece Puzzles sells its work primarily online, but can be found in the Gifts of Joy gift shop in Newfoundland, where Osmond is from.
"Whenever your mind can be relaxed, it is never a waste of time," she said. "Every little piece helps."