Relaxation comes in many forms. Some people may designate reading time after a long workday, play video games , or master their latest culinary creation. According to a new study, that third activity may just have some major mental health benefits. (Looking for a place to get started? Make sure you avoid these 12 baking mistake in your endeavors.)
The research, which was published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, found that people who take on small projects that are creative in nature on a regular basis tend to feel happier and more relaxed in their day-to-day lives. The two-week study involved researchers tracking the daily activities of a group of 638 participants from the University of Otago in New Zealand. (There’s already evidence to back up the psychological benefits of baking for other people.)
At study’s end, the participants with the highest levels of self-growth (measured by the psychological terms “enthusiasm” and “flourishing”) happened to regularly take part in activities like knitting, baking, cooking, creative writing, and painting. Dr. Tamlin Conner, the study’s lead author, cites a carryover effect that many of these activities possess, via the Telegraph.
“Engaging in creative behavior leads to increases in well-being the next day, and this increased well-being is likely to facilitate creative activity on the same day…Overall, these findings support the emerging emphasis on everyday creativity as a means of cultivating positive psychological functioning.”
So go ahead and bake that cake (or knit that scarf). Your well-being will thank you for it.