When Baking is Blissful

Good news for those of us with a sweet tooth and some mixing spoons: psychologists are finding that baking for other people can be accompanied by significant psychological benefits.

Indeed, a recent article in Huffington Post shared just how many ways we all benefit from a batch of brownies. 

One cookie for me, one for you

Offering an outlet for creative expression and communication, baking taps into all sorts of benefits, like finding ways to cope with stress, increasing happiness, and practicing mindfulness. The authors go on to share research and insights from Donna Pincus, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University, which sounds oh-so-familiar to those of us tracking the Creating Connection research:

“Baking has the benefit of allowing people creative expression…There’s a lot of literature for connection between creative expression and overall wellbeing. 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.”

The science behind the snickerdoodle

But why is it beneficial? Pincus shares a few reasons, including the mindfulness of the practice—you need to be in the moment, focusing your attention on the recipe, measuring your ingredients, physically rolling out the dough, all while taking in the tastes, smells, and visuals of the activity. And while you’re going through these steps, you also need to think about the recipe as a whole, what you’re going to do with it, and with whom you might share it. 

Yes, by all means, let’s share

Indeed it’s that final act of sharing what you have created that’s the icing on the cake.  

“Baking for others can increase a feeling of wellbeing, contribute to stress relief and make you feel like you’ve done something good for the world, which perhaps increases your meaning in life and connection with other people,” Pincus told HuffPost. And that sense of altruism and sacrifice have their own proven psychological benefits

So, whether you’re gluten free or gluten spree, it sounds like it’s time to perfect that pie (and then share, please).