We all know baking as a way to create delicious treats to snack on solo or share with friends. But did you know baking can also boost your mental health and happiness?
In fact, there’s even a type of therapy called “culinary therapy” which relies on cooking and baking to help people cope with struggles related to stress, anxiety, depression, grief, etc.
So what are the mental health benefits of baking?
How Baking Impacts Mental Health
How Baking Affects Your Mood
Baking is considered a mindful hobby. This means it’s done with intention and your focus exists on the present (rather than worrying about the past or future).
Mindfulness, in general, has proven to be an extremely effective tool in gaining some control over anxious thoughts and feelings.
For some, this might include breathing exercises or yoga. For others, it might be baking!
By focusing on the things you can control—each step in the process and the skills that go with them—you’re able to essentially “get out of your own head.”
As a result, you feel much better.
Since baking is an enjoyable activity for many, it not only helps you regulate your mood but boosts it as well.
When you partake in an enjoyable hobby, your brain rewards you with endorphins, a.k.a. feel-good chemicals.
Maybe it’s the sweet smell, the feel of soft dough, or the satisfaction of putting the icing on top.
In addition to releasing endorphins, baking can also increase your levels of serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin—all positive brain chemicals directly associated with overall mood and happiness.
And maintaining adequate levels of these chemicals can help combat mood disorders like depression in the long run.
One thing many of us struggle with is setting aside time for some self-care.
Practicing a hobby, like baking, is one way we can dedicate more time to ourselves and find joy in our daily lives.
The more we do these things, the more they become beneficial habits.
Plus, when we take time to recharge with a fulfilling activity, it strengthens us and makes us more resilient.
Baking can also help you break the everyday monotony.
Challenging yourself to try a new recipe can get you into the habit of being more adventurous and open to new experiences that can enrich your life.
Furthermore, learning new baking skills is good for your brain health in general! It’s like exercise for your noggin.
And like most things in life, exercise (whether it be your brain or body) is a habit!
The Emotional Benefits of Baking
We know that there are positive feelings that come with baking.
But more than just positive feelings, baking is a great opportunity to make connections with others and with yourself.
Baking treats can be a thoughtful way to express your appreciation, love, or even sympathy for another person.
In many cultures, food is an important avenue for celebration and strengthening bonds. Giving someone a gift also has its own special type of feel-good reward.
It can give us a feeling of community (yet another very important concept in many cultures).
In addition to creating outside connections, baking can help you connect with yourself and foster personal growth.
Even though there’s a science to baking, there’s also ample room for creativity.
Because creativity and emotion are closely intertwined, doing creative things has been shown to reduce stress and make us happier.
Some people find that after baking, they tend to approach the next day with a more positive mindset.
Being in a creative state also helps us learn more deeply about ourselves, which can turn out to be a very healing experience.
How to Start Reaping the Mental Health Benefits of Baking
If you’re someone who finds joy in creating things with your hands, baking may just be a mood-boosting hobby for you.
Whether you’re a beginner or are already more experienced, anyone can reap the mental health benefits of baking.
Even better? We’ve removed the mess and the hassle of grocery shopping for ingredients.
Our baking kits come with all the ingredients you’ll need to make tasty treats, pre-measured and ready to go.
Choose from our menu of globally inspired desserts, from classics you already love to new-to-you flavors.
Make it a fun habitual hobby and sign up for a baking kit subscription.
Just select the recipe you want to try each month and tell us where to send it. We’ll take care of the rest!