These Stress-Relieving Puzzles Are So Soothing That I’m Gifting Them to Friends

published Mar 18, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Amazon

I’ve always wanted to try a gradient puzzle, but I dragged my feet when it came to taking the leap. My friends picked up a puzzle habit last year and would constantly update me with new puzzles they were trying, including 3D puzzles in the shapes of animals and cartoon characters. I haven’t graduated to the level of 3D puzzles just yet, but gradient puzzles still fascinate me because I’m so drawn to color. In my search for puzzles to try, I came across the Asian-owned brand SOONNESS by artist Soon Cho. They have a collection called Gradient Therapy that’s a trio of 1,000-piece puzzles with three standout designs in vibrant color.

SOONNESS has mindfulness at the forefront when it comes to the Gradient Therapy puzzle collection. Each box has a soothing quote printed on the underside of the lid to inspire you to embrace the calm; inside the box is a postcard-size image of the full design for reference. The puzzle pieces are a good weight, and not thin or flimsy, so I didn’t worry about accidentally bending one irreversibly during assembly. They come packaged in a zip-top bag, which I loved because it made it easier to keep the pieces contained neatly. I also liked that the bag could be reused, since it made for a really great holder during breaks from puzzle making. When separating the pieces, I could keep some stored in the box lids and also use the bag instead of just leaving the pieces out and at risk of getting lost (or eaten by the dog).

Of the three puzzles in the complete set, Sky Love stood out to me the most. Its design is five gradient stripes with different color combinations that mimic the hues you’d see during sunrise and sunset. What increases the challenge with this puzzle are the similar shades between lines that keep you guessing. While putting it together, I could focus all of my attention on the subtleties of the colors, which took my mind off of any other stressors of the day. It was a fun activity to do while winding down because it made me slow down my typically racing thoughts and do one thing instead of continuing to multitask until I crashed for the night.

The other two puzzles in Gradient Therapy are Magic Box and Jelly Bean, which are more literal in their designs. Magic Box is a 3D gradient cube and Jelly Bean is a candy-shaped rainbow oval. Both puzzles have the same subtle beige-to-blue gradient background. All three puzzles are wonderfully giftable, either separately or all together as a set. In fact, I’m planning to share my bundle of puzzles with my two closest puzzle-loving friends. They’re great because you can do them over and over again as a meditative practice; or you can do them once, glue them down, and hang them up as wall art.

As a method of stress relief, Gradient Therapy puzzles have worked for me! But aside from simply taking my mind off of anxious thoughts, the puzzles are genuinely fun to do. The colors are easy on the eyes, and the boxes look fantastic even if you leave them out. You know they’re puzzles, but they aren’t styled like traditional puzzle boxes you’d find in the store. An added bonus for me is that instead of piling up the puzzles in my closet, I’ve been able to display them freely because they’re essentially mini works of art. I went into this process only expecting puzzles for a mindful evening activity but got so much more in return!