Why Baking Makes You Happy, According to Science

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I love baking. There’s something soothing about it when you’re having a bad day, when the weather turns dreary, or when you’re feeling a bit blue – and it turns out, that’s not just a weird quirk of mine.

According to psychologists, baking makes people happier.

And it’s not just because you get to lick the spatula, either.

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Studies have long shown that creative activities contribute to a sense of well-being, and Boston University professor Donna Pincus told HuffPost that there is a type of “stress relief that people get from having some kind of an outlet and a way to express themselves.”

Outlets like knitting or baking.

Baking also requires the cook to focus on straightforward directions that should be executed in a specific order. The series of tasks is a form of mindfulness, as the mundane activity forces you to focus on it, which lets the troubles of the outside world drift away.

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Juliana Ohana, a licensed clinical social worker, told HuffPost that it’s therapeutic because it helps you “balance the moment and the bigger picture.”

Basically, baking is a minor feat that you can use to visualize a happy moment in the future, when the cookies, bread, or cake is finished, delicious, and being shared with family or friends.

The act of sharing your finished product can be good for the body and soul, too, says Pincus.

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

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

I guess in the long run it doesn’t matter which of these things – or none of them – give you the warm fuzzies when you set out your butter, pull up a recipe, and fit the beater on your mixer. Baking makes us feel good, people love to eat baked goods, so there’s really no reason to stop anytime soon.