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7 Ways Baking Can Improve Your Mental Health

March 2024 | Baking
by Marilyn Heywood Paige

Baking can be a profession, hobby, or way to spend an afternoon. It can also give your mental health a boost. In this article, we’ll list the seven ways baking can improve your mental health.

Join us Saturday, May 11th from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. For Tiny Treats for Tea Time Baking Workshop. It’s just in time for Mother’s Day, so make it a day with mom! Register here.

Boost Your Mood 

Dr. Barbara Geisser, a neurologist at the Pacific Brain Health Center in Santa Monica, California, praised the benefits of baking, stating that kneading dough can be a good form of exercise. The Mayo Clinic reminds us that “Physical activity can boost production of the brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.” 

Reduce Stress

Dr. Giesser says, “The repetition of steady and vigorous kneading can be calming and contemplative. It’s also a good way to let out aggression.” Nicole Beurkens, Ph.D. concurs. “The repetitive motions involved in kneading, mixing, measuring, and cake-decorating can be soothing and stress-reducing.”

Irene Roderick Painter Turned Quilter

Make New Friends

Sharing a drink or cup of coffee can help break the ice, and offering a homemade treat can inspire new friendships to develop. Sharing the recipe or talking about the baking experience can also remove some of the awkwardness of making conversation with unfamiliar people. A 2020 study on the prevention of depression from Psychiatry Online found, ”People who have friends and close confidants are more satisfied with their lives and less likely to suffer from depression” And let’s face it, everyone loves it when a baker shows up and shares their bakes. 

Strengthen Existing Connections

If you’ve ever watched “The Great British Bake Off,” you know that baking is better done in a group. The camaraderie and sharing of triumphs and failures in the kitchen make the effort more fun. Baking with loved ones is a wonderful way to bond, learn, and create together. It can strengthen relationships, make lasting memories, and foster a sense of community. 
According to the Mental Health Foundation, “People who are more socially connected to family, friends, or their community are happier, physically healthier, and live longer, with fewer mental health problems than people who are less well connected.” That’s something to bake about.

Irene Roderick Quilt

Bolster Self Confidence

Baking requires following directions, taking deliberate actions, and patience. The results often occur within hours, so the baker gains a sense of accomplishment relatively quickly. Finishing a task and reaching a goal are confidence boosters. 

Spark Creativity

People who don’t see themselves as creative or who don’t make time for creative pursuits can spark their creativity through baking. Following a recipe involves directions, but baking also allows for experimenting with techniques and flavors. Decorating cakes, cookies, and cupcakes can unleash your inner artist. According to Diversus Health, “Being creative can increase positive emotions, reduce depressive symptoms and anxiety, and improve the function of our immune systems.”

Foster Purpose

Ask any mom who has had to bake cupcakes for her kid’s school bake sale, and she’ll tell you that baking for others gives you purpose. Whether it's for a bake sale, a family get-together, or another occasion, baking for others can be a fulfilling experience, as it allows you to witness the joy your baked goods bring to others. This can lead to a greater sense of well-being and purpose.

From connecting with others to boosting your mood, creativity, and sense of purpose, baking is an accessible tool to improve your mental health. Come to the Estelle Center for a baking class and experience a boost to your mental health!

The Estelle Center is hosting its first baking workshop on Saturday, May 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Just in time for Mother’s Day, the workshop would make a delightful family event for moms and children over 12. Click here to register.