If spending time cooking and baking is how you release stress, you’re not alone. In fact, a lot of people say the kitchen is where they feel the happiest. And the healthcare industry has noticed. That’s why an increasing number of clinics and counselors now use cooking or baking classes as therapy for patients suffering from depression, anxiety, addiction, and more.

And that’s smart. Because psychologists say that chopping, stirring, and creating recipes helps soothe stress, builds self-esteem, and teaches new skills. It also helps curb negative thinking by forcing participants to be mindful – and focus on what’s happening in the moment.

In a study in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, researchers found that baking classes boosted confidence, increased concentration and provided a sense of accomplishment for patients.

And for those who took classes in a group, they received the benefit of boosted social skills and confidence, and an improved sense of wellbeing. So, break out the pots and pans and invite your neighbors over, or sign up for cooking classes – because cooking and baking is now regarded as a powerful dose of psychotherapy. Plus, you end up with tasty things you can eat at the end of your session.

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