Baking has long been associated with positive mental health. According to a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology in late 2016, creative endeavors such as cooking or baking can make people happier.

Jack Hazan is taking that to heart in New York City. The baker turned therapist uses baking techniques to help his clients. While studying at New York University in 2016, he started his business Jack Bakes to make and sell challah products.

Using his baking expertise in his therapy practice, Hazan is benefitting New Yorkers. Through individual sessions, he infuses recipes with coping mechanisms and other key therapeutic techniques to bring about a healthier life.

“Connecting with Others, All About the Self, Mindfulness, Grief and Loss and Emotions. These are themes that I see most in my practice. And they have practical applications for baking,” Hazan says. “While therapy and baking may seem scary or daunting, I’ll help break down the instructions or teachings so they’re simple to follow.”

Hazan sees the direct effect baking has on mental health, especially during the challenging times the coronavirus pandemic has brought upon society. “We’re experiencing grief and loss right now. We can’t connect the way we used to, and this is one way we’re connecting with people,” he tells Time Out New York.

In addition to these sessions, Hazan’s Brooklyn-based baking company continues to grow. Its challah and challah bagels are available in 50 stores in New York and across the Mid-Atlantic region.