Thirty-second cooking videos are so 2015. Our latest obsession? Cookie-decorating videos. We aren’t exactly pastry chefs, but there’s something seriously mesmerizing about watching these edible creations come to life. And we’re not the only ones who think so: The videos have racked up millions of views.
They all follow roughly the same format: The decorator starts with a shortbread cookie and pipes colorful icing to create a masterpiece (check out a David Bowie tribute and a dress from the Academy Awards below). The decorator’s hands dance across the screen, and, less than a minute later, the cookie is finished, and we’re left feeling relaxed.
That Zen-like feeling isn’t surprising, says Ben Michaelis, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of Your Next Big Thing. Watching someone create something beautiful is soothing to our eyes and mind, and the repetitive motions help us to zone out and relax a bit. Researchers haven’t studied cookie-decorating videos yet (we’d be glad to volunteer!), but studies have shown that art therapy and activities like coloring can help relieve stress and anxiety.
Of course, coloring and watching videos are two different things. “Although watching videos like this can be soothing, engaging in a creative activity is much better for you,” Michaelis says. “When you are actually doing an activity, different centers of your brain are active that are integral for a greater therapeutic effect.” So if you’re getting re…