Cooking and baking are good for your mental health

mango coconut cake

At the end of a stressful week, I look forward to the weekend so that I can relax in the kitchen with a baking project. To paraphrase a popular saying, a bad day in the kitchen is better than a good day at work. Baking and cooking are forms of therapy for me, and I'm sure most EYB Members would agree. Now science is backing us up: a new study shows that performing creative activities each day, like cooking or baking, can help create happiness in our daily lives.

The study, published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, involved having researchers follow people around in their daily activities for two weeks. They discovered that when the research subjects performed seemingly ordinary tasks like cooking and baking, the subjects felt "more enthusiastic about their pursuits the next day."

This is not the first study to explore the link between cooking and mental health. Psychologists often use cooking or baking as a form of behavioral therapy. GBBO winner John Whaite uses baking as a tool to help him cope with manic depression (he was diagnosed with the condition in 2005). Experts posit that tasks like measuring ingredients, which require a good deal of focus, can help calm someone in a manner similar to meditation.

Photo of Mango & coconut mousse cake from John Whaite Bakes at Home by John Whaite 

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