Psychologists reveal that baking helps reduce stress and anxiety
18 May 2020, 14:42 | Updated: 18 May 2020, 14:43
Baking has become incredibly popular during lockdown, and there could be a deeper reason behind everyone turning to it.
We've all been bored indoors for weeks now and many of us have been turning to baking to relieve our boredom.
However, psychologists have revealed that baking can actually be a huge help with reducing stress levels and anxiety... which actually makes a lot of sense.
The whole coronavirus pandemic has had everyone feeling a bit down and stressed over the past few weeks, and stress baking has definitely become a thing.
According to Dr. Mary McNaughton-Cassill, a clinical psychologist with a disaster stress management background and a professor of psychology at the University of Texas, San Antonio, there's a number of reasons behind this.
She told Delish that a lot of it is down to the creativity involved, such as adding flavor, changing color, forming shapes and so on.
"The smell of spices and vanilla are comforting, and [they] often remind us of happy times.
"Olfactory scents are particularly linked to areas of the brain that involve emotions and memory," she suggests.
As well as this, there's the general "magic" involved in baking: "Mixing inert substances together, and watching them rise can bring out the mystic, or the chemist, in all of us."
Routine also plays a part, added McNaughton-Cassill: "There is a rhythm or pattern to baking, it feels familiar and can even lead to a mindful state.
"One of the stressors of modern life is that, for many of us, our jobs don't have a tangible outcome.
"We work all day—in customer service, healthcare, education, accounting, insurance—and feel tired when we get home, but we don't have a discernible way to measure what we have accomplished."
She explains further: "In contrast, throughout much of history people had to engage in physical, survival-based activities like growing food, building their own homes, and sewing, which while physically hard, provide a strong sense of accomplishment.
"I think this is why there has been such a resurgence of interest in crafts, home remodeling, and cooking.
"We want to feel that we can still do things that impact the environment." - the environment in this case being your home environment.