Stress baking has trended on social media over the past decade for good reason — it helps people calm down! Between measuring the ingredients and working with different textures, baking provides various stimuli to the brain resulting in cognitive benefits. By supporting your creative mind, baking can help you feel and think your best.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, studies show that people who frequently take on small creative endeavors report higher levels of relaxation and happiness. In fact, the research found that baking and cooking contributed to an overall sense of self-improvement. However, the process of baking itself involves a fair amount of computation and presence to achieve the correct result, which also impacts brain health. The Kensington White Plains notes that measuring out your ingredients and following the recipe requires clear thinking. By focusing and following the instructions, you exercise that part of the brain to accurately create the dish of your choosing.
Furthermore, the small details of baking help hone your fine motor skills; particularly for elderly people, this practice can keep their hands nimble as they age. The outlet notes that making and controlling small movements over time can be beneficial for this system. Especially when it comes to more challenging recipes, baking requires a high level of digital skill as well as brain function.
Baking can be self-care for some people
In a world with so many conveniences, the old-fashioned joy of making something just because it makes you happy can often get lost in the shuffle. Slowing down to bake something, measuring each cup of flour and watching it rise, can be incredibly calming for the mind and body. “Baking has the benefit of allowing people creative expression,” Donna Pincus, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University, explained to the HuffPost. “There’s a lot of literature for connection between creative expression and overall well-being. Whether it’s painting or it’s making music [or baking], there is a stress relief that people get from having some kind of an outlet and a way to express themselves.”
Stressed-out brains aren’t nearly as effective or logical as relaxed brains. When people bake, they’re not only exercising their noggin, but they’re also calming down enough to use it more aptly. Furthermore, baking and sharing your creations with others also helps with connection and expressing oneself.
“Baking actually requires a lot of full attention. You have to measure, focus physically on rolling out dough. If you’re focusing on smell and taste, on being present with what you’re creating, that act of mindfulness in that present moment can also have a result in stress reduction,” Pincus added.
Keeping your hands and mind nimble, baking may be the activity you never knew you needed.
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