We’re Stress Baking — and It’s Good for Our Brain

A close up of hands shaping bread dough
Ross Woodhall/Getty Images

When the country is stressed out, what do we do? We bake.

With so many of us cooped up inside while we wait out this pandemic, “stress baking” is what we’re doing to relieve our anxiety.

And we are anxious. A new poll by the American Psychiatric Association found nearly half of Americans are anxious about possibly getting the coronavirus, but far more — 62 percent — are worried about family and loved ones getting the disease. More than a third say worries about the virus is having a serious impact on their mental health.

So we turn to baking, something creative we can concentrate on and block out the ongoing turmoil, at least for a while. Plus, we have all this extra time on our hands to attempt recipes we’ve always wanted to try.

For recipes, tips and ideas on how to make brain-healthy meals at home, go to Brain-Healthy Home Cooking.

Just check out social media for proof. Friends and relatives are proudly showing off photos of their homemade sourdough bread loaf like it was a new grandchild. The hashtag #stressbaking has hit more than 32,500 posts on Instagram as of April 16, as people share photos of recipes they’re making from biscuits to bundt cake. Google searches for “how to make banana bread” are soaring and #QuarantineBread is trending on Twitter, where twice as many people as usual are tweeting about their cooking and baking, ABC News reports.

To find out more, check out this Staying Sharp article on stress baking.

Social worker and culinary art therapist Julie Ohana says baking, which requires close attention as you add the ingredients, helps focus and calm the mind. It also serves a dual purpose of both nourishing people and making them happy. “It’s something joyful that’s an expression of love,” she says.

To learn more about ways to relieve stress in your life, check out these Staying Sharp articles:

The Brain Health Staycation

Too Much Stress Can Be Bad For Your Health

Relaxation Techniques for Better Brain Health

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