The Good Psychology Behind Baking and Its Benefits
If you’re the type of person that loves baking, you’re going to come up with any excuse to make delicious treats for people to enjoy. Whether you let your family know you’re making a cake for an upcoming birthday or if you’re making cookies just because your kids want something yummy, baking is everywhere.
One of the most interesting things about whipping together a batch of delicious brownies is that it may be more than just making delicious treats. In fact, psychologists have begun to delve into the idea of how baking can benefit the human psyche.
Below are some interesting benefits you’ll experience from spending time in the kitchen doing something you love.
1. Self-Expression and Stress Relieving
According research from the Boston University, baking gives people the ability to express themselves in creative ways. You can find a variety of different sources that link mental benefits to having some type of creative output. Whether you’ve been dealing with a Debby Downer at work and you need to let loose or if you simply need to take some stress out of your life. Being creative is a great way to express how you’re feeling and to put your negative emotions into something positive.
In fact, stress is one of the most dangerous things that you can live with on a regular basis, regardless of if it’s acute or chronic.
2. Communicating Your Feelings
Imagine living in a world where you were never able to truly communicate how you felt. It would not only be incredibly lonely, but it would be a psychological burden. Susan Whitbourne, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts, suggests that baking is a great way to show others how you feel. For example, in the event of someone passing, it’s a cultural norm to bring some type of food to the grieving family.
Baking can be phenomenal for getting your true feelings across, especially in situations where there aren’t any words that you can use to express what you need to say. Instead, relying on baked goods can help you to show people that you’re thankful, appreciative, or sympathetic.
3. Harnessing Mindfulness
If you’ve done any research into how you can reach into your inner self, you’ve undoubtedly heard of meditation. It’s an incredibly healthy activity that allows you to reflect on your current state, bring yourself to a more peaceful state, and appreciate the benefits of living with a Zen mentality. Did you also know that baking is a great way to not only reduce stress but to also increase your overall happiness?
When you start to bake, you’re going to find it takes a lot of attention. Your focus will be on measuring all of the ingredients, rolling dough, and ensuring that you bake all of the pieces at the right temperature and for the right amount of time. When you take the steps to be more mindful about what you’re doing and basking in the pleasure of the present moment, you’re going to enter a meditative state.
In fact, baking can be a beneficial form of therapy that is commonly put in the same category as art therapy. As well as helping to focus on your mindfulness, baking can help to get rid of sad thoughts. John Whaite, the winner of The Great British Bake Off noted that baking helped him to deal with manic depression.
4. Mastering the Art of Giving
In today’s society, it’s easy to get lost in the idea that we always want others to give everything to us, especially when it comes to teens and children. Although it can be nice to receive, it can be even more rewarding to master the art of giving. When you start to focus more on baking, you’re doing something that can help you to have pure altruism. That constant feeling of satisfaction from giving is something that is unmatched.
Even if you’re not baking for the entire world, just creating a pan of cupcakes for your child’s class at school can help you to feel like you’re doing something good. If you make it a habit, it can be a constant personal reward that you’ll start to look forward to. When you take a step back and look at the amount of time, effort, and money that goes into making something for someone else, it’s essentially selfless.
The best way to feel the positive sensation of giving is to bake out of the goodness of your heart. Don’t try to tackle a project just to outperform another person, or try to make cookies better than someone else. Just do it because you think that someone would love to receive a nice treat once in a while.
5. Family Bonding
Another huge advantage to deciding to pick up baking is it allows you to form a stronger bond with the other people in your family. Even children can complete some simple recipes, such as sugar cookies or vanilla cupcakes. Plus, there’s nothing better than having a little bit of help around the kitchen!
Instead of isolating yourself for hours on end, pull your family into the activity and get everyone involved. Have one of your family members measure all of the ingredients, another person can add them all to the mixing bowl, and another can whip the entire recipe together.
It’s incredibly satisfying to have an activity to do together on weekends or after a tough day at the office. It also gives you the ability to learn more about how everyone’s day went, among many other things.
Baking is so much more than being able to enjoy a plate of sweet treats when you’re craving something sugary. It’s a mental relief that can help to get rid of signs of stress, anger, and a lack of inspiration. The next time you’re feeling down in the dumps, get the whole family together and make a batch of your favorite cookies for an event or just to enjoy on your own. Your mind and your body will thank you for it!