Mood Boosting Baking: How It’s Beneficial to Your Mental Health

Who wouldn’t want to create a decadent tasty treat in a warm comfortable environment, with their nearest and dearest?

Yes, I’m talking about a delicious red velvet cupcake, apple pie, or a chocolate chippie biscuit, baked in your own kitchen, with the help (or hindrance) of your darling partner and children.

With Series 13 of the Great British Bake Off about to once again invade our living rooms and lounges with dozens of delicious treats and the occasional disaster, it seems that home baking is more popular than ever.

Surprisingly, we can’t give all the credit for the upsurge in homemade cupcakes, pastries, and cookies solely to this popular TV show. It seems that the Covid-19 pandemic and the many lockdowns have necessitated much more home cooking, including baking.

As a result, one survey found that a staggering 91% of Britons plan to cook as much or more this year with 55% believing their health would be improved by cooking at home.

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Baking is good for your mental health

We’ve all heard about sharp increases in demand for mental health services since the beginning of the pandemic.

Being confined within the four walls of our homes isn’t always the ideal environment. How you get on with those you’re living with, the inability to meet up with various friends and family members, or to participate in stress-relieving pastimes,  can all have negative effects on our mental health.

Baking allows people to focus on a specific task and push other problems building up within their mind into the background.

The negative inner dialogue disappears as they work through the baking process and create increased self-esteem, enhanced brain development, and possible contact with others, with the incentive of a delicious treat when the process ends.

Baking also tends to be low stress compared to cooking a meal for a large family birthday.

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Here are ten ways baking benefits mental wellbeing:

  1. Self-satisfaction

This is something being created from scratch. If you follow the recipe, you might not get the perfect look the first time, but it’ll taste great! Practice makes perfect – try again and your technique will improve.

  1. Express yourself

The kind of baking you create can reflect your personality or mood. It could be something decadent with loads of dark chocolate, or a lighter fruit-flavoured delight.

  1. Bake for a reason

Maybe it’s someone’s birthday or you could be trying to bake something that  you’ve never tried before. Most people have cookbooks with recipes they’ve never attempted. Challenge yourself or get creative.

  1. Escapism

Sometimes you just need to get those frustrations out by doing something physical. Try whipping cream with a hand whisk, or kneading bread. The repetition and challenge will soon clear your mind.

Stockphoto from unsplash - baking
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  1. Meditative

Because baking takes your entire attention whether weighing or whisking the eggs, the simple repetitive tasks have a soothing, calming, and meditative quality that eases any negative thinking processes.

  1. Stimulate the Senses

The silky feel of the flour, the burr sound of the blender, and the smell of the baking – each part of the baking process seem to stimulate your senses. This increases those feel-good endorphins and sends your thoughts miles away from any negative issues in your life.

  1. Nourish yourself and others

You’re creating something to be eaten. “You” have control over what that item is, how it’s made, and what ingredients went into it. No need to read the tiny print on the side of the food packet, you know what you are eating and feeding to others.

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  1. Be creative

Go ahead, add that weird food coloring to the icing! Psychologists have found a connection between creative expression and overall wellbeing, so get experimenting.

  1. Making others happy

Don’t you find that when people around you are happy, you also feel much happier? When it comes to something you have created that brings happiness, then that warm feeling in your belly is telling you that you’re double-happy.

  1. Pride

Baking can be the perfect way to bring the family together and at the same time provide benefits that go far beyond that tantalising taste on your tongue and feeling of contentment in your stomach.

Stockphoto from unsplash - baking
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With a little luck, you’ve created a delicious masterpiece that you can soon share with others. The feeling of accomplishment will warm your heart and encourage you to turn to the next page in the recipe book.

As you bake more, your skills will increase, and who knows where that might lead? Perhaps a side gig baking and selling cupcakes?

About the Author:
This article was submitted to Positive Outlooks by Millie Fuller. She is a freelance copywriter. You can find her on LinkedIn.

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