Move over chicken soup, baking is actually good for your soul. Science says so.
If you are like so many Americans, when you are feeling down, pulling some fresh baked cookies from the oven has a way of warming more than just your oven! It can warm your heart and thaw your mood. Mixing all of those ingredients together and forming something new can actually do a whole lot more than that, too, according to a recent study.
The Journal of Positive Psychology studied 658 young people over two weeks, and found an emphasis on everyday creativity helps cultivate positive psychological function. Cooking and baking can actually help people with a wide range of problems like autism, depression, anxiety, and learning disabilities. Culinary therapy is also used by some addiction treatment centers to relieve stress, improve social skills and memory, enhance participants’ ability to plan and organize, relieve boredom, and boost self-esteem. Pretty impressive list, right?
A recent article in Treehugger addressed this very thing. They listed the following reasons as to why baking is so therapeutic:
It’s a form of meditation. The repetitive motion of chopping ingredients can be a time to let your thoughts wander, or to empty your mind.
It’s creative and artistic. Decorating cupcakes, cookies, and cakes takes skill and focus.
It’s about control. You determine what goes in, what stays out, what gets tweaked. Then you can bask in a sense of accomplishment at having made something with your own hands.
It’s highly symbolic. In our culture, baking is associated with nurture and goodness. There’s a sense of those qualities rubbing off on us while baking tasty treats ourselves.
Feeding others is deeply gratifying. Nothing beats passing out delicious homemade food to appreciative family and friends.
What do you think? Does baking make you happy? Do you find that something as simple as mixing ingredients can be a form of therapy? I certainly do. Baking makes me happy. Eating said baked goods helps, too! Bake on!