Getting creative in the kitchen promotes emotional wellness

We all know food is good for the soul, but did you know that cooking is great for your mind? Some mental health professionals now recommend cooking classes as a treatment for depression and anxiety. Therapists say that focusing on a task such as following a recipe deflects worry and other negative emotions, resulting in lower stress and increased self-esteem.

A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that creating something in the kitchen can make people happier. The 600+ study group reported that they felt happier and more relaxed after completing several cooking or baking projects in the kitchen, and in general felt more positive about their everyday lives.

There is a growing body of evidence in psychology research that creativity and emotional functioning are very much connected. Cooking and baking align closely with what psychologists call behavioral activation therapy. Behavioral activation involves activities that are goal-oriented, allowing the mind to focus on a specific task that produces a tangible (and in this case, tasty!) outcome. This often gives participants a sense of power and control that may be lacking in other areas of their life.

While cooking or baking, you are maintaining a constant focus throughout the process by doing the measuring, the mixing, the actual cooking and the timing of everything from start to finish. A high level of concentration is an accepted and helpful way of treating many types of mental illness.

Cooking is calming, mindful, and creative -- all the ingredients for the best kind of self-care! And while cooking for oneself is soothing and satisfying, cooking for others has benefits, too. It connects us to other people, fulfills a basic need, and offers the feel-good sensation of giving.

In short, cooking is a recipe for all around well-being. Cook up some creative wellness today, whether it’s on your own or with friends!

Try this super-easy cake decorating method and look like a creative genius in your kitchen!

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