The Reason You Should Start Baking During A Coronavirus Quarantine

If you're the kind of person that gets excited by the thought of stocking up on different types of flours and sweeteners, can spend hours shopping for spatulas and oven thermometers, can find joy in discovering flavorings, and are giddy over the discovery of a store fully stocked with gadgets that Mary Berry would love, well, we've got good news for you.

In a study published by the Journal of Positive Psychology, researchers say those of us who take to baking and cooking on a regular basis say they feel more relaxed and happy (via Vice). The researchers, who were from the University of Otago in New Zealand, followed 658 university students who were asked to journal about their activities and feelings over a 13-day period. After the experiment ended, researchers found that the participants flourished, and were much happier after undertaking creative activities like cooking and baking, or even painting, knitting, and creative writing.

Baking is a form of creative expression

Tamlin Conner, who led the study, says the study highlights how important it is to get involved in creative activities. "Our earlier research found that positive affect appears to increase creativity during the same day, but our latest findings show that there is no cross-day effect. Rather, it is creative activity on the previous day that predicts wellbeing the next," Conner says.

That's not all, because if you are keen on baking, you get an added bonus. "Baking has the benefit of allowing people creative expression," Boston University associate professor of psychological and brain sciences, Donna Pincus, tells HuffPost. "There's a lot of literature for connection between creative expression and overall wellbeing. Whether it's painting or it's making music [or baking], there is a stress relief that people get from having some kind of an outlet and a way to express themselves." 

Baking can even be a meditative act. "Baking actually requires a lot of full attention," Pincus says (via The Kitchn). "You have to measure, focus physically on rolling out dough. 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."

Baking is a way to manage COVID-19 anxiety

This nugget comes at a time when people around the world are getting more stressed out about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Anxiety is rising so quickly that the World Health Organization has had to issue guidelines for mental health protection during this period (via Stat), which includes, "Avoid watching, reading or listening to news that cause you to feel anxious or distressed; seek information mainly to take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones. Seek information updates at specific times during the day once or twice. The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel worried." 

So if social distancing and staying at home is raising your anxiety levels, now might be a good time to dust off your baking bowls and baking sheets, take out the flours, eggs, butter, sugar, and vanilla, and get to it. After all, we don't have to say "freshly baked goodies" twice, do we?