The Psychology of Baking

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Can being creative with sugar flour and eggs do more than provide a messy kitchen and yummy comfort food. Research in mental health seems to suggest that it can. It seems that baking has a therapeutic effect on depression and anxiety disorders. Up to one in four of us will succumb to one or both of these disorders in our lifetimes. So how could running our own small-scale version of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ help?

1. COOKING IS ACTIVE MEDITATION
Because it takes your whole attention and it’s simple and repetitive it has a calming effect similar to meditation. As you weigh out the ingredients, beat the eggs and stir the mixture it prevents the mind dwelling on worries and stresses creating calm and disrupting negative thoughts.

2. IT IS OPIUM FOR THE SENSES
Flour feels wonderfully cool and silky, the hum of the blender, warmth of the oven and of course the delicious aromas are a drug to our senses. The endorphins produced in our brains when we experience these sensory pleasures create a physiological and psychological high similar to an opiate drug!

3. MEETING OUR BIOLOGICAL NEEDS
Eating is a biological need and it is rewarding to us when our needs are met. We are further rewarded if we prepare food for our offspring as nurturing fulfils another evolutionary drive to provide for our young which brings a great feeling of satisfaction and elevates our self-worth.

4. CREATIVITY IS GREAT FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH & WELL-BEING
Psychologists have found a strong connection between creativity and overall health and well-being – The more creative you are the bigger the effect, so have a go at something amazing! I remember how great it felt to make my children themed birthday cakes in the shape of teddy bears and Disney characters.

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They joy on their faces stays with you forever. Which brings us to the last point.

5. SPREADING THE JOY
One of the best things about baking is that you can give away your lovingly made cupcakes and flapjacks and share your secret happy cakes with others…..what’s not to love?

If you want to try it out for yourself the recipe for the biscuits pictured in this article can be found  here.

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