There are a lot of reasons to love baking — it’s a great way to treat yourself, but it’s also been shown to improve your mental health.
Baking is a type of mindful hobby that helps you focus on the present, and many people find it helps with stress and anxiety issues. So, we asked experts to explain why they think it’s so good for your mental health.
1. It’s a form of exercise
The winter season can be tough on mental health, particularly when the days are dark and our Vitamin D levels low. But baking is a good form of exercise and has been shown to help boost our moods.
Baking is a repetitive activity that takes full concentration and can be calming, meditative, and therapeutic for anyone who needs to relax. The act of weighing ingredients, whisking eggs, and folding dough can take away your worries about the future, as you focus on the present moment.
When you’re baking, every part of your experience – from the feel of the flour to the smell of the finished product – triggers your senses and releases feel-good endorphins that make you feel more relaxed. It’s the kind of mindful activity that can help to reduce stress and anxiety, and foster a strong sense of purpose and control.
2. It’s a form of self-expression
There’s a lot of research showing that putting your time and attention into something rewarding can have a positive effect on your mental health. Psychology experts say that absorbing time into something like baking can help you focus on the present moment, which can be helpful for people with anxiety or depression.
Self-expression is the act of expressing your emotions and thoughts through creative means, such as art, music, or acting. This can be a powerful tool for connecting with others and communicating your unique self.
Baking can also be a cathartic way to express your feelings. It can be especially helpful when you can’t communicate in words. It can be a great way to show someone how much you care, says Susan Whitbourne, professor emerita of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts.
3. It’s a form of relaxation
Baking is a time-honored tradition in many cultures. It’s a process that involves mixing flour with water, kneading it into a dough and baking it in an oven.
It’s also a surprisingly effective coping mechanism for people who are going through stressful times. It can help people feel in control and able to take on the world, so they’re less likely to experience a mental breakdown.
While it’s not the most fun thing to do, there are plenty of reasons that baking is one of the best ways to unwind and recharge your batteries. Here are six of the most scientifically sound reasons why it’s one of the smartest things you can do for your mind and body. The real trick is finding your inner baker, though.
4. It’s a form of meditation
Baking is an enjoyable hobby that many people use as a way to relax and relieve stress. It’s also a form of meditation, which can improve your mental health and help you reduce anxiety, depression and stress.
Meditation is a practice that involves focusing or clearing your mind using a combination of physical and mental techniques. There are many different types of meditation, including guided and visual-based, which can all be beneficial for your mental health.
Baking requires concentration to follow step-by-step instructions, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. The repetitive motions, like kneading and mixing, are soothing for many people.
5. It’s a form of creative expression
It’s no secret that baking is a great way to sate your sweet tooth and satisfy your love of all things baked. You may be surprised to learn that this creative activity also has some pretty serious psychological benefits, too.
For one thing, psychologists say it’s a form of self-expression that increases overall well-being. It also reduces stress and anxiety, and can help boost mood and relieve symptoms of depression, says Donna Pincus, an associate professor of psychology and brain sciences at Boston University.
It’s also a great form of meditation and mindfulness, since it requires you to be present and focused on the task at hand. This can be helpful for people with depression, and the repetitive motions of kneading dough or preparing a cake for decorating can help people reach the state of “Flow” — a feeling of calmness that promotes feelings of relaxation and well-being.