The Psychological Benefits of Baking for Others

Making your favorite desserts just got sweeter.

- Posted on Feb 8, 2018

The Psychological Benefits of Baking for Others

While most people see the act of baking for others as a form of generosity, psychologists reveal that there can be many psychological benefits for the baker, as well.  

Donna Pincus, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University, tells Huffington Post that baking for yourself or others is a form of mindfulness. “If you’re focusing on smell and taste, on being present with what you’re creating, that act of mindfulness in that present moment can also have a result in stress reduction,” she explains.

In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader

In that way, baking can be a form of therapy. According to Pincas, the step-by-step thinking process that baking requires can increase mindfulness and decrease the presence of sad thoughts.

Baking can also reduce stress when it’s used as a productive form of self-expression and communication. When it’s difficult to find the words, baking for someone can communicate everything from appreciation to sympathy which helps reduce stress. The cultural norm of bringing food to someone when a loved one has passed says everything you need to say when there aren’t adequate words.

It’s also a form of altruism. Pincus explains that baking for others can make you feel good about yourself for doing something meaningful and thoughtful without expecting anything in return.

“Baking for others can increase a feeling of wellbeing, contribute to stress relief and make you feel like you’ve done something good for the world, which perhaps increases your meaning in life and connection with other people,” says Pincus.

 So now that you have more than one reason to make those homemade cookies that everyone loves, get to baking!

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