5 surprising reasons why baking is good for your mental health
You’ll be pleased to know that baking has more benefits than just its delicious outcomes. For National Baking Week in October, we explore five reasons to get your bake on
Baking isn’t just for the professionals. No doubt the contestants from the likes of The Great British Bake-off can (sometimes) make it look like an exact science, and while there is an element of chemistry in there, that shouldn’t stop you from getting your whisk on.
Here are some reasons why baking is a great activity to do and how it can help with your mental health.
Baking unlocks all your senses
Whether it’s the smell of brownies cooling or the feeling of kneading dough, according to psychologist Dr Linda Blair, “baking appeals to all five of the senses,” which in turn increases feel-good endorphins.
It can also work as an antidote to the daily grind often dominated by modern tech and staring at screens.
“When we bake, we can get in touch with all our senses – sight, taste, feeling, sound and, in particular, our sense of smell, which can reawaken happy memories that we wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.”
Baking boosts your confidence
Even if it doesn’t turn out to be an Insta-worthy creation, the British Journal of Occupational Therapy found that baking boosted confidence and provided a sense of achievement.
Taking pleasure and pride in something you’ve created can significantly boost your self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
Baking helps you switch off
Baking gives us time to switch off and focus on the careful process of creating the perfect loaf or the most beautiful macaron.
“Working through the steps of a recipe in a methodical way means you don’t have time to concentrate on everything else that is whirring through your mind,” says John Whaite, former winner of the Great British Bake Off.
Unlike modern technology, baking guarantees you a tangible result and the predictability of this can be calming and reassuring.
Baking beats the blues
Mary Berry once said: “If you’re feeling a bit down, a bit of kneading helps.” Baking can create comforting and nurturing feelings, which can help your mental wellbeing.
“Cooking and baking activities can be therapeutic for patients with depression,” says psychiatrist Mark Salter. “They can stimulate cognition allow patients to connect with a feeling of nurturing and protection.”
Baking harnesses creativity
There are no rules of what you can and can’t make when it comes to baking. That means it can be an excellent way for you to let your creativity flow.
Of course, there are a few scientific principles you’ll need to stick to, but why not exercise your creativity and give something complicated a go, or try something you’ve never done before - what’s the worst that could happen?
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