Bake It Off: The Therapeutic Benefits of Baking
Though we do love to snuggle up in bed, it’s just one of our favorite ways to Allswell at home. Baking comes next on the list. Here’s why.
A famous philosopher once said: “Haters gonna hate, hate. hate, hate. Baby, I’m just gonna bake, bake, bake, bake.” OK, yeah, she didn’t. But she might have. As an enthusiastic baker, Taylor Swift has surely experienced the mood-enhancing effects of pulling a cake out of the oven. And she’d probably agree that baking is one of the best ways to get yourself out of a funk.
There are many reasons why baking is so comforting. It’s aromatherapeutic. It gives you a sense of accomplishment. You’re focusing your attention on something positive. And it doesn’t stop there. One of the best parts is that you can share the joy with others. Few things make your friends and family as giddy as a tray full of cupcakes. And nothing soothes a broken heart like a warm apple pie.
Whisk Away Worry
But, let’s break down the remedial benefits of the activity itself. “As humans, we’re makers, and we’re creative,” says therapist Karen Steinberg of the New York-based Possibility Practice. “We have the capacity to take a seemingly disparate group of ingredients and create something that is useful, nourishing and enjoyable to us.” In her therapeutic work, Karen encourages her patients to see possibilities in uncertain and difficult situations. Baking can be used to exercise that skill. “Often, people feel that very painful, distasteful and terrible things in their lives have no creative value them. The activity of baking can help us to reconnect with our fundamental capacity to create with all kinds of things, both sweet and savory.” she says.
If your bad mood veers more towards angry than sad, the physical aspect of baking is helpful. Beating up eggs with a whisk is an excellent tension reliever, you can be wildly aggressive when kneading dough, and the violent buzz of a blender is a good soundtrack for revenge fantasies. You can also cheer yourself up with the thought that you’re making something delicious that whomever has wronged you will never, ever get to taste.
Feel Good Favorites
However, it’s important to keep your ambitions in check. If you’re in a vulnerable state of mind, stick to recipes with a high success rate. Brownies are nearly impossible to mess up. So are chocolate chip cookies. Sugar cookies, on the other hand, can be infinitely frustrating. Stay away from soufflés.
There’s also no shame in using a high-quality mix. Foodstirs, which prides itself on only using organic, clean and fairtrade ingredients, has fun and inspiring kits for fantastical innovations like Galaxy Donuts and Rainbow Cake Pops.
Love Sweet Love
And once you have baked yourself into better spirits, it’s time to give back. Baking is sharing is caring. You know at least one other person who could use some cheering up, whether that’s your sister who just got dumped or your neighbor who lost their cat.
Being the bringer of treats is one of the most sacred ways to make your world Allswell. As another famous philosopher, Audrey Hepburn, put it: “Let's face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.”