Whilst mindful baking may not be good for our waistlines, it turns out this wholesome pastime is good for your mental health. If you find yourself feeling anxious or restless, it may be time to dig out those baking trays you’ve been keeping at the back of your cupboards. Next time you feel yourself in need of some self-love and soothing, instead of reaching for your phone or a bottle of wine, reach for your recipe book, and here's why...
Benefits of baking mindfully
Most of us have heard of mindful eating. The act of eating with heightened senses and concentrating on the taste and texture of your food. However, many of us haven’t heard of mindful baking, the art of baking as a way of easing tension, anxiety and stress.
Positive scent association
Many of us will have had our first experience of baking when we were much younger. Being shown how to bake shortbread and cupcakes, the wonder as all of these ingredients created a delicious treat to enjoy at the end. Not the mention, the smell of freshly baked goods that filled our homes and made our mouths water. This positive association with the scent, texture and taste of baking is still ingrained within us, and something we can all draw from when we need it most. Mindful baking can wash away our current negative emotions as we enjoy the nostalgia of an afternoon of baking.
The benefits of mindful baking don’t stop there. The act of baking is an all consuming process, leaving no room to think of much else. If negative thoughts feel like they are overwhelming you, turning your attention to baking something delicious will positively distract you as you have to meticulously follow a recipe, measure out ingredients and concentrate on each individual task closely. Baking truly is an immersive experience.
Why not also take this as an opportunity for a mini digital detox? Go old school, switch off your phone and your laptop and read from a good old fashioned recipe book. This will save you from being distracted from pinging emails and group chat notifications.
If you aren’t already a keen baker, the thought of baking may seem like a chaotic experience with ingredients everywhere, flour filling the air and time sensitive tasks. However, baking is much the opposite. With our daily lives usually run by tight deadlines, extreme multitasking and an endless to-do list. Instead, baking forces you to slow down and be present in the moment. Baking things such as bread is a long process that requires your undivided attention and care. Picking up a recipe will force you to take a deep breath and enjoy the task at hand.
Arguably, one of the biggest benefits of mindful baking is the tangible reward you get to enjoy at the end. Whether this is a walnut banana bread, a freshly baked loaf of a batch of chocolate chip cookies, when all is said and done you can sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labour. In today's society, much of our work is often intangible with our focus instead being stored on laptops and computers, unable to enjoy it physically. This can make mindful baking extremely rewarding, and even altruistic. If you haven’t already eaten half of your banana bread yourself, giving it to a loved one can be just as rewarding, if not more.
Just make sure you avoid a GBBO meltdown. Don’t sweat the soggy bottoms or have a baked Alaska meltdown. The fun really is in enjoying the process and seeing what you come up with!