If you look up different ways to de-stress on the Internet, you will be met with a whole host of suggestions, from yoga to breathing exercises. But, what about cooking? You may think that cooking is a chore and that there is nothing relaxing about it. However, it is time to look at cooking from a fresh perspective. Read on to discover the different reasons why cooking is the ultimate stress reliever.
It is a form of therapy
Firstly, there have been many mental health experts that have stated that cooking helps with relieving anxiety and depression, as well as the manifestations that tend to come from this, for example, eating disorders. A lot of mental health clinics have even started to use cooking as a form of behavioral therapy, very much like art therapy or music therapy.
This is because cooking has a meditative feel to it. You focus on one thing, and this helps to relax the mind and ease any stress that you have been experiencing.
It gives you a sense of accomplishment
After all, if you are to put together a meal that tastes amazing, you need to be present and engaged. This is what is known as behavioral activation. You need to make snap judgments, you need to taste, you need to add and subtract heat.
You can’t just stare into space and think negative thoughts. Instead, a mindful and positive activity is what you will concentrate on. Plus, it is also worth noting that you will feel a great sense of pride and achievement once you have cooked a dish. Also, there is something about losing yourself in the process of cooking that is healing and gives a sense of personal growth.
It can improve your diet
Aside from the fact that the act of cooking itself is therapeutic, you also need to consider what this will lead to. The most obvious benefit in this regard is an improved diet. Diet and mental well being go hand-in-hand. There have been a number of different studies that have proven the link between a healthier diet and higher levels of the happiness hormone, medically known as serotonin.
Don’t forget to properly equip yourself
For cooking to be stress-free and fun, you do need to make sure that your kitchen is properly equipped. You need all of the right cooking utensils and pots and pans. When you are buying a pan like a stovetop grill pan you need to make sure it is non-stick, otherwise, you will only end up being incredibly frustrated.
As you can see, there are many different ways that cooking can benefit you and help to reduce stress. Nevertheless, for this to be the case, you do need to approach cooking as something fun to do, rather than being a task you must carry out. Plus, you need to have all of the right utensils and cooking equipment so that cooking is easy rather than a challenge!
I love to cook, but there are times when I am too tired from my meds or from other things, and getting a big meal(especially on holidays) or any meal done can be difficult. However, when I have the time and I do get to cook for my family it that sense of accomplishment that makes me feel so good.
For me, cooking is like art, and art is a form of therapy. Cooking works in the same way. You have control over your cooking canvas and that sense of control is very therapeutic. Not to mention when the food is done, the smile on everyone’s faces makes it all worthwhile.
Also, being that I am a mom I find great joy from the food choices I make for my children. When I make smart healthy choices I feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that I am doing the right thing for my family. It makes me work harder as I cook.
The last tip is very important though. If you do not have the right equipment, cooking can be very stressful. Like when your non-stick pans need replacing, that is a must.
I like to use time cooking as not only therapy for myself but for my children. Take time every week to have cooking sessions with your children. You can cook and talk about things that may be bothering your children. You and your partner can have cooking sessions once a week for a date night. This will be a great way to save money and open up communication.
Cooking provides many opportunities to let your creative juices flow and distract you from your crazy stressful day. Try a new recipe, bake a new dessert! Spend some time in the kitchen with your family and let cooking be your therapy.
Do you use cooking as a de-stressor? I would love to hear what you like to cook when you feel stressed, please share your thoughts below!