How Baking For Others Can Improve Your Mental Health

It’s common for people to feel stressed and overwhelmed with the various tasks and responsibilities of their everyday lives. Anxiety disorders affect around 40 million adults in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

To combat this kind of tension, people participate in a number of activities from counseling and exercise to meditation and acupuncture. One of the most stress-relieving actions, however, can be completed in the comfort of one’s own home: cooking.

“One of the best outlets for people is cooking.”

A burst of enthusiasm

Sometimes what people need is to take their mind off of the elements that are inducing mental health issues, like anxiety or depression. This can be challenging, but concentrating on a creative endeavor could help. According to a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, people who did everyday – but somewhat artistic – projects were happier, more at ease and excited about the prospects of the next day.

Researchers found that one of the best outlets for people is cooking, in general, and baking, in particular. This tangible activity is therapeutic and offers people a sense of control of what they’re doing. Not only does baking give people something to concentrate on, but also encourages them to live in the moment and follow the recipe for life, according to Smithsonian magazine.

A wordless expression

Regardless of a mental disorder, it can be difficult for people to share how they feel with others. Baking offers them an outlet to express their sentiment without having to say a word, according to Susan Whitbourne, professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts. People can use these treats to demonstrate their appreciation, gratitude or sympathy.

While art therapy has been in practice for many years, the culinary field has been growing in popularity recently. Nutrition is important to maintaining a healthy mind, and people who cook or bake will play an active role in ensuring their diet is of the highest quality, according to Psychology Today.

So what kinds of treats should you bake? Here are some recipes to try:

Biscotti

Everyone needs something sweet to go with their morning cup of joe or tea! Biscotti is the perfect baked good to delight guests who come over for a visit or to give as a gift for various occasions.

Chocolate bark

Do you know your best friend’s favorite candy? Why not place it on top of handmade chocolate bark to brighten their spirits. It’s easy to make and is sure to put a smile on people’s faces. Plus, you can make a large batch and customize it for each recipient.

Shortbread cookies

If you’re looking to share something a bit more filling, shortbread is the way to go. These treats can be cut out to resemble holiday-themed items, like Christmas ornaments or Easter eggs, or can be given without decoration for a delicious bite.

Culinary academy students can use their cooking and baking skills to improve their mental health and show others their gratitude and appreciation.

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