Bake Your Stress Away!


| 3 Comments
fresh-baked-cookies.jpeg(Image from Brio Guy)

I've always enjoyed baking. In fact, since I've been back here at State, I've baked cookies at least once a week. I know my roomies really love the fact that I'm doing all this baking, but at the same time, I think they're a little puzzled as to why I keep baking every week.

When I bake, I feel better about myself. I feel less stressed. Of course, there is that wonderful saying that "stressed is desserts backwards," but I always wondered if there was a connection between baking and relieving stress. 

Lo and behold, Google came to the rescue! I found an article from the Massachusetts Health Blog as to why baking makes us feel better and less stressed.

For starters, most times when we bake, we usually tend to bake "comfort foods," or foods that could comfort us in times when we are upset, stressed, or feeling gluttonous. This explains why I've baked a lot of snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookies, and brownies in the past few weeks!

Baking helps us release our creative side. It also helps us soothe some tension, with techniques like stirring, mixing, kneading, and eating the dough/batter/whatever. These techniques are actually similar to proven stress relievers like knitting or squeezing a stress ball. Of course, there are some people that find chopping to be quite soothing as well. There's a repetitive motion between all of these techniques that has a way to calm us. 

Baking also helps us become more confident in our skills. I've had many trial and error runs with simple chocolate chip cookies. Sometimes they end up to be too hard, sometimes I burn them, but most of the time, they turn out perfectly. However, when my batches don't come out the way I'd like them to, I get a little frustrated, which in turn causes me to be a bit more stressed. But when they do come out perfectly, it's like my tension has melted away and I tend to indulge more into my creations. 

Sadly, there hasn't been a lot of scientific research into why baking helps us sooth our stressed out souls. However, baking has been shown to get us away from things that stress us out, like papers, speeches, or even blog posts. It takes our minds off of our problems for a little while, while also providing us with a lovely snack to munch on when we return to our stressors.

3 Comments

I tend to see backing in response to stress an unhealthy outlet. Stress backing usually leads to stress eating (at least in my case). I do agree that creating something always makes me feel better, but I think there are healthier outlets. I don't think it is necessarily cooking that does it for people, but rather the fulfillment of creating something positive. Maybe try building a birdhouse instead?

Just to back my story - Stress eating

I definitely understand why baking is a form of stress relief. In high school (when I had access to a kitchen) I would find stress relief in making any kind of food. It makes us feel better to accomplish something, and when the final product is cookies you definitely can't lose. In college, I've come to find that cleaning my dorm room is a way that I relieve my stress (or procrastinate, depending on your outlook). It makes me feel like I've accomplished something and the final product makes me feel better about life in general. I found an article which explains some of the possible reasons that baking is a source of stress relief for so many people. One of them that struck me the most as a reason is that baking has a clear beginning and end. You get out the ingredients and then by the end, you clean up and have a final product. This might help some of us who are struggling with ongoing projects that we are dying to see the end of. I saw you also wrote that it helps us express our creative side, and I think this is definitely a legitimate reason as well. School can sometimes restrict us from expressing the things we are really interested in, and baking could be an outlet for that. How else does everyone relieve stress? I know that I clean and eat most of the time when I'm feeling super stressed.

Here's the article I looked at: http://community.careonecredit.com/b/life_balance/archive/2009/12/21/bake-for-stress-relief.aspx

I really realte to this topic. I love to bake because it gives me time to just focus on one thing and not have to worry about 10 other things. I usually don't bake to eat the finished product, I bake because I'm either bored or there is too much going on. I always thought this too was the reason why people knit or other little hobbies people pick up. They are easy ways to relieve stress and for me, baking is relaxing. Unless of course I burn something, then I just get stressed out again. I don't see a problem with baking when you are tense. unless you end up eating all of the baked goods because you are still stressed. I think it is a healthy was to relax. I suggest the next time someone is really stressed out to bake. Bake something for your family or neighbors. For me, it really does help.

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