Why Baking Makes Us Feel So Darn Good Right Now

There’s a method to the madness of why you can’t stop baking during this quarantine

During these coronavirus stay-at-home orders, this is how your brain might be functioning:

Exhausted from work? I should bake! Tired of watching TV? Hmm, what if I make some banana bread? Package hasn’t arrived yet? I should bake while I wait.

You're not alone if baking seems like a good use of your time at every turn. Baking has the power to soothe the soul, according to science.

A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology in 2016 found people who spend time on creative projects report feeling happier and more relaxed.

The researchers surveyed a group of people and they found that those who cook and bake feel better about their day-to-day activities.

Donna Pincus, a professor of psychology at Boston University, told HuffPost that baking allows for creative expression and stress relief. It also allows one to focus, since baking requires precision and attention to detail.

Perhaps that helps explain why for Christophe Toury, executive pastry chef at Ebb & Flow Bakery in New York City, his job is so much more than just a job.

“It’s very therapeutic for me to touch the ingredients,” said Toury. “They’re very comfortable. I really love to touch flour and batters and mixes.”

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) describes that feeling you get when someone whispers in your ear or when you hear other isolated sounds. We recently launched a new series, "ASMR the News," where we'll be using ASMR a lot, so here's an explainer about what ASMR is all about.

Indeed, that general feeling of comfort is what drew Toury to a career in baking in the first place.

“My father used to be a construction worker, and I had to help him a lot when I was young,” said Toury. “I didn’t like to touch all that, the cement. It was a very rough and cold environment. I was uncomfortable. I was helping my neighbors [bake] on the weekends, and I started to fall in love just by touching—the feeling of the ingredients was phenomenal, and I was comfortable. I could relate more. I could spend hours doing whatever I was doing with flour.”

So next time you bake (probably later today), be happy knowing you’re taking care of yourself and getting a tasty treat while you’re at it.

If you want to try making the gluten free chocolate chip banana bread from the ASMR video above, click or tap here for the recipe from Gimme Delicious.

This episode is part of our series, ASMR the News. What is ASMR? Autonomous Meridian Sensory Response is that feeling you get when someone whispers in your ear. It’s usually described as a tingling sensation on the brain, and it can be achieved by listening to isolated sounds.