New Study Shows That Creative Tasks Like Baking Can Help With Depression
Why those homemade baked goods are actually good for you.
Are you feeling a little blue? If so, you might consider taking on a creative project, like knitting a scarf, baking a cake or making some jam.
While you might not think that adding items to your to-do list would help relax you, it turns out that some household tasks are actually good for your mental well-being. A recent study published in the “The Journal of Positive Psychology” found that when people perform creative tasks such as knitting or baking, it has a positive impact on their mood in the days that follow.
Plus, it seems that creativity inspires more creativity. In other words, finishing one creative project inspired people to continue on to other DIY tasks.
Why is creative work so stimulating? For one thing, creativity helps to promote the production of new neurons in our brains, keeping us sharp and preserving our memory. Senior citizens who regularly engage in creative tasks are 45 percent less likely to develop dementia.
For another, being creative helps people manage their emotional pain. A study published in the “American Journal for Public Health” found that creative exercises helped people to better cope with depression and anxiety. Creative exercises have also been used with great success in American prisons, with research showing that arts classes help to lower incidences of violence, as well as lead to an increase in prisoners seeking vocational training and advanced education.
But here’s an important tip: Researchers have also found that it is good for the brain to be creative with other people. For example, a British study found that knitting in a group has a powerful impact on one’s mood, communication and overall emotional well-being.
So, if you are feeling depressed and lonely, consider taking a cooking class at a nearby kitchen goods store, joining a creative Meetup group near you, or simply taking a little extra time to make a thoughtful, well-prepared dinner for yourself rather than nuking a Lean Cuisine.
[h/t: Mental Floss]