Almost everyone has finished off a pint of ice cream or wolfed down a few slices of cake in the hopes of eating our way back to happiness.
Our waistlines could bear evidence of regret later on but there’s no doubt that eating is definitely a form of therapy.
However, cooking the food that we love to eat also has pretty therapeutic effects and science has now confirmed what your grandmother always knew.
One study found that baking classes boosted confidence and increased concentration. Another revealed that some creativity in the kitchen can make people happier. That study, which was published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, suggested that people who often take small, creative projects like baking or cooking reported being more relaxed and happy in their everyday lives.
The study followed 658 people over two weeks and discovered that these small kitchen projects made the group feel more enthusiastic the next day, reported the food website Munchies.
People said they felt like they were “flourishing” (a psychological term describing the feeling of personal growth) after engaging in these little acts of creativity.
Tamlin Conner, a psychologist with the University of Otago in New Zealand and the lead author on the study, told The Telegraph, “There is growing recognition in psychology research that creativity is associated with emotional functioning.
In fact, cooking is now considered so therapeutic that therapists are now recommending cooking classes as an alternative method to treat depression and anxiety, including eating disorders, ADHD, and addiction reports The Wall Street Journal. According to the counselors interviewed by the outlet, cooking can help “soothe stress, build self-esteem and curb negative thinking by focusing the mind on following a recipe.”
Psychologists say that cooking and baking fit a type of therapy known as “behavioral activation” which alleviate depression through “increasing goal-oriented behavior and curbing procrastination.”
By helping people focus on a task, cooking can give them a sense of power and control that they may not experience on their own outside the kitchen.
“When I’m in the kitchen, measuring the amount of sugar, flour or butter I need for a recipe or cracking the exact number of eggs—I am in control,” John Whaite, a baker who won The Great British Bake Off in 2012, told the BBC.
“That’s really important as a key element of my condition is a feeling of no control.used baking to help stabilize his moods.” Whaite had been diagnosed with manic depression in 2005 and had
By focusing on the many activities required in cooking, such as prepping ingredients, monitoring the cooking process, etc.
, it can help keep one’s mind off things that are better off not being focused on.