Psychologists Say Baking Is a Great Way to Improve Your Mood – Here’s Why


There are plenty of people out there who innately understand that the act of measuring ingredients, kneading dough, licking spoons, and dropping cookies, cakes, muffins, bread, or all of the above into a hot oven is a quick fix for a bad day, a fight with your spouse, or a general funk that’s proving hard to escape.

But it turns out that there is psychology behind the fact that baking – for yourself or others – possesses a therapeutic element.


Studies have shown that creative practices, like baking and knitting, have the ability to contribute to a person’s overall sense of well-being, a fact that Boston University’s Donna Pincus says  is due to how baking allows “the benefit of allowing people creative expression.”

“There’s a lot of literature for connection between creative expression and overall wellbeing,” Pincus continues. “Whether it’s painting or it’s making music [or baking], there is a stress relief that people get from having some kind of outlet and a way to express themselves.”

Stress, of course, is linked to a variety of mental and physical problems, which means finding ways to cope is an important step in leading a healthy life.


Baking also helps people practice mindfulness, as it allows you to focus on straightforward directions listed in a specific order – the fact that you’re just following along lets your mind grab onto something other than the stress and anxiety that might exist outside the kitchen.

Julie Ohana, a clinical social worker and culinary art therapist, claims that baking helps you practice the “balance of the moment and the bigger picture.” When you’re baking, you’re measuring ingredients and mixing them together, all while imagining how they’ll come together in the end and how someone else might be pleased to enjoy that final product, too.

Which brings us to another psychological benefit – sharing your baked goods with others. Doing something good without expecting anything in return is a proven mood-booster, confirms Pincus.


“You feel like you’ve done something good for the world, which perhaps increases your meaning in life and connection with other people.”

Food can also function as a mode of communication, says psychology and brain science professor Susan Whitbourne.

“It can be helpful for people who have difficulty expressing their feelings in words to show thanks, appreciation, or sympathy with baked goods.”

In a world where it can be hard to find ways to communicate our feelings to others, being able to say it with baked goods (or a quilt, or a cross-stitch) is as easy as it is satisfying.

So get out there and bake, people – it’s good for your body, your mind, your community and your belly, too.