We all love being quality control for our loved ones who like to bake. Whether it’s a batch of extra-chewy chocolate chip cookies or a classic vanilla sponge cake, there’s no denying that eating sugary treats makes you feel good. But, for those who are doing the baking of these tasty treats, there are benefits beyond being the favorite friend in the group – there are also psychological benefits that go along with it too.
There have been studies that have shown how creative activities such as baking and knitting, can contribute to an overall sense of well-being. Donna Pincus, an associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University, spoke to HuffPost and said there’s “a stress relief that people get from having some kind of an outlet and a way to express themselves.”
Baking helps the baker actually practice mindfulness in a fun way since it requires the person to focus on following a specific set of directions in a certain order. This means that most of the decisions have already been made, allowing the person baking to concentrate on the details, which actually takes your mind away from outside stressors and anxieties.
Julie Ohana works as a licensed clinical social worker and culinary art therapist. Ohana explained to HuffPost the therapeutic effects of baking as it helps the person practice the “balance of the moment and the bigger picture.” While you’re measuring and mixing ingredients, you’re probably not thinking of anything else except the finished product and how it’ll all come together to create a beautiful final product. And after the baked good comes out of the oven, you’ll probably be thinking about how and when you want to share it with your loved ones.
Sharing your desserts for caring purposes, not for competition or attention, is actually another great mood-booster because it makes you “feel like you’ve done something good for the world, which perhaps increases your meaning in life and connection with other people,” Pincus explained.
Sharing desserts can also serve as a means of communication. Professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Susan Whitbourne, explains that “it can be helpful for people who have difficulty expressing their feelings in words to show thanks, appreciation, or sympathy with baked goods.”