Baking and Anxiety

I have always enjoyed cooking and baking. I love the process of starting something from scratch, and having a finished product that is delicious. When I was in grad school, I began to bake all the time. I would come home from a full-time job and classes and immediately turn on the oven to bake a fun recipe. Most of the time, I would pack the food for later after I baked it, but the act of baking was soothing.

One day, I began to think about this, and began to research the psychological effects of baking. Julie Thomason wrote an article of the positive effects of baking in the Huffington Post. Below are some of the benefits:

  1. Baking is a productive form of communication and self-expression- Whether it is playing an instrument, going on a run, or baking, we all need an outlet. Baking allows us to express ourselves in a creative way and often can give us an outlet for the many stressors of the day.
  2. Baking is a form of mindfulness- Mindfulness increases happiness and reduces stress. Baking requires us to be present and engage our senses during the process. We have to focus on measuring, as well as how the bake looks, feels, smells, and tastes. Being present in the moment can decrease anxiety-provoking thoughts, as well as ruminating thoughts that are contributing to depression.
  3. Baking is a form of altruism- Often when we make something and give it to our friends, serve it at a dinner party, or drop it off at a soup kitchen, it gives us a feeling of accomplishment. Our bake, no matter how trivial we may feel it is, made someone feel something.

The next time you feel your thoughts turning towards anxiety, think about what your body and mind need to remain in the present. Maybe that will be meditation- or maybe that will be baking.  If it is baking, not only will you have something yummy to eat when you break out that mixer, you may just find that your anxiety has gone down and you feel calmer.

 

Written by: Chelsey Beauchamp

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