Do you ever wonder why you can’t help but smile as you whip up tasty treats in your home’s kitchen? From pre-heating the oven, mixing the dry and wet ingredients, and up until you hear that satisfying “ding,” you can already feel the atmosphere lighten up and your mood lifted.
Whether you’re just casual baker or a dedicated savant in the fantastic world of baked food, experiencing the joy of baking is undeniable.
Baking can be a form of therapy and empowerment. At first glance, grasping how baking can be a form of meditation and a source of joy can seem a bit far-fetched. But bakers can see and feel more while they’re baking. Its process is both a science and art. The methodical mixing of ingredients and adding precise measurements can be relaxing, knowing that you’re creating your next baked masterpiece.
To some, baking can be reminiscent of Julia Child’s masterful pastry dishes or childhood memories filled with freshly baked cookies and mouth-watering lasagna. Others feel a surge of delightful nostalgia as they travel back in time back to the days of mom and grandma’s original recipes. You can even smell the familiar fragrant of pies and cakes in the oven and sharing a hearty meal with the family—that is the joy of baking.
A recent study from the Journal of Positive Psychology explains how you can accomplish your creative goals to promote your well-being. These goals can be reached when doing inventive and stimulating tasks such as cooking and baking. In a related study, Haley and McKay discussed how baking can be an opportunity to gain new skills.
Participants in their study felt more confident and productive. More surprisingly, the beauty and satisfaction of baking can also be applied to individuals in acute mental health inpatient units.
Julia Ponsonby, the author of The Art of Mindful Baking: Returning the Heart to the Hearth, expounded how can someone discover the joy of baking. She shares an insightful message on how baking can become a practical meditation that can potentially give physical, mental, and social benefits.
In the field of culinary art therapy, baking can also be considered as a helpful activity to cope better with depression, anxiety, and addiction.
You might wonder, what is the reason how baking can be so captivating and calming. Farmer, Touchton-Leonard, and Ross probed on cooking and baking’s benefits to one’s well-being. Participants in the study felt engaged and empowered. They also felt their self-esteem improved. The study’s respondents elaborated on how producing a product they could keep or give away to others as being “beneficial and rewarding.”
The beauty and satisfaction of baking can be further unraveled when it is done altruistically. As you bake, you become more focused and hopeful that the effort you’ve poured while baking is the reason for someone’s smile. In every part of the world, cooking for someone is deemed as a thoughtful gesture–whether you’re welcoming someone in a home, showing a kind gesture, or expressing your gratitude.
Catching the baking bug can also be a means to express what can’t be said on words. Susan Whitbourne, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts, explained how the mere desire to share your food with others is an excellent way to build a connection, evoke selflessness and love.
Much like any hobby or a creative outlet, baking allows you to express your emotions and creativity. Kneading the dough, curating all the ingredients, and establishing a rhythm enables you to actualize your passion while reaping the benefits and joy of baking.
It even becomes more heartfelt if you’re serving the whole family. Nothing beats the happiness of seeing your loved ones relish the baked treats you’ve worked hard to prepare. Just make sure you still have your sugar levels in check!