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There’s another brilliant reason to get baking this winter

Time to channel your inner Mary Berry, say scientists

By Alexia Dellner, 28 November 2016
There’s another brilliant reason to get baking this winter

As temperatures drop and the nights draw in, it's not uncommon to feel a slight dip in mood. But it turns out that the key to boosting your mental wellbeing could very well be found in the kitchen and perhaps even a fresh batch of gingerbread biscuits

A recent study found that people who participate in arts and crafts feel happier, calmer and more energetic the next day

That’s according to a recent study that found that people who participate in arts and crafts feel happier, calmer and more energetic the next day. The list of activities that researchers indentified as mood boosters include knitting, crocheting, jam-making, baking, creative writing and painting. Guess your nan was on to something after all! 

The study took place at Otago University, New Zealand, where 658 students were asked to keep diaries of their experiences and emotional states over 13 days. Researchers found that the students showed more enthusiasm and "flourishing" – a mental health term that describes happiness and meaning – in the days following creative activities.

Dr Tamlin Conner, psychologist and lead author of the study, said in a press release that the research highlights the importance of engaging in creative activities: "Our earlier research found that positive affect appears to increase creativity during the same day, but our latest findings show that there is no cross-day effect. Rather, it is creative activity on the previous day that predicts wellbeing the next."

Translation? Getting crafty today won't just boost your mood now, but it can also improve your mental wellbeing tomorrow.

The study authors also noted that in addition to craft activities making you feel better, they can also make you more likely to pick up that spatula or knitting needle again the next day too!

"This finding suggests a particular kind of upward spiral for wellbeing and creativity – engaging in creative behaviour leads to increases in wellbeing the next day, and this increased wellbeing is likely to facilitate creative activity on the same day." Chocolate cake, anyone?