'Baking therapy' can help people cope with anxiety, says NYC psychotherapist

When life hands you lemons, make lemon poppy seed muffins. So says psych expert Jack Hazan — also known as NYC’s baking therapist.

“There is something incredibly soothing about [working with] dough,” Hazan, a native New Yorker, writes on Instagram.

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The 33-year-old, who goes by @Talk.To.Jack online, wasn’t surprised to see people stress-baking bread to stay sane during the COVID-19 lockdown. In fact, Hazan’s been working out his feelings on dough ever since his college days at NYU.

There’s a “therapeutic aspect [to] baking bread,” the Manhattan psychotherapist, who sells his loaves of challah online, tells The Post. One big emotional hurdle he’s struggled with over the years is “perfectionism” and its accompanying anxieties. Baking has helped him deal with those feelings.

“I started introducing mindfulness into the [baking] process,” he says. “Before I baked, I would set an intention. The more awareness I introduced into the process, the more … I was letting go.”

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Before long, Hazan’s loaves began to look like delicious metaphors.

“Baking has taught me how to embrace change through the power of transformation,” Hazan writes in an Instagram post. “What starts as a few simple strands of dough transforms into a beautiful yet complex creation … I see these same transformations unfold in life. What starts with simple everyday occurrences has the potential to lead to something much greater, with some intention and willingness behind it.”

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Inspired by his own baking breakthroughs, Hazan began developing a flour-powered therapy program. Launching this summer, his baking therapy practice will help clients work through common psychological issues — trouble connecting with others, roadblocks to introspection, pent-up feelings — through specific recipes chosen by Hazan. He’s also got a book in the works, “Kneading Help.”

The dough pro is excited to spread his carby coping strategies — and to break bread with people in-person when the time finally comes.

“What I love most about the therapeutic aspect of baking bread is being able to share it and build a community,” says Hazan.

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For more, including three of Hazan's recommended recipes for working out your anxieties, continue reading the original article at The New York Post.

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