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Whipping up treats in the kitchen can do more than just create yummy comfort food, according to a growing range of sources in both the culinary and mental health worlds. In fact, baking has been found to have therapeutic value which helps to ease depression and anxiety. And seeing that one in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives, this wholesome therapy is good for the whole family. But watch the sugar – how about making healthy versions of your favorite treats?

1. COOKING IS MEDITATIVE

Any activity which takes your whole attention – especially if it’s simple and repetitive – can have a calming, meditative quality. The process of weighing out butter and sugar, whisking eggs, beating and folding creates space in the mind, and eases negative thinking processes.

Photo by Flickr user elana’s pantry

2. BAKING STIMULATES THE SENSES

The feel of the flour, the sound of the blender, and of course the smell of the delectable final product – all these experiences stimulate the senses, which in turn increases feel-good endorphins.

Photo by Flickr user arbyreed

3. NOURISHING ACTIVITIES FEEL GOOD

Baking – and any sort of cooking or food preparation – is ultimately about nourishing ourselves and others. To internalize this benefit, make an effort to bring your whole awareness to the healthy ingredients and love that go into your baked goodies.

Photo by Flickr user Emily Carlin

4. BAKING IS CREATIVE

Psychologists have found a strong connection between creative expression and overall wellbeing – so experiment with that recipe if you dare, and make that frosting the prettiest it can be.

Photo by Flickr user ginnerobot

5. MAKE OTHER PEOPLE HAPPY

One of the best things about baking is that you can give away your creations and make other people feel happy – which in turn puts a smile on your dial. It’s a win-win

[Sources: The Depressed Cake Shop, the BBC and The Guardian]

Photo by Flickr user kern.justin

 So, try planning family cooking group sessions at school or in the community. While you’re creating masterpieces, connect it all to learning. Share recipes, keep ingredients simple, and minimally time consuming for parents to make at home with their loved ones and don’t forget to include provisions for the children, as helpers. Activities like this will help in calming those ‘attitudes’, encourage school-family partnering, and may help at home, as well. Bake, cook, eat and share stories….fun for all!

 

 

My source of inspiration: http://www.goodnet.org/articles?tag=Cooking

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