Can cooking be therapeutic and help with mental health?

The wonderful thing about cooking is that it transforms us at the same time as it transforms our ingredients. Cooking is self-care at its most basic and nourishing, you take ingredients transform them into something delicious that feeds body and spirit.

Cooking lets me feel somewhat in control and this calms me.

3 steps to bliss in the kitchen:

  • Find your confidence first: find something simple you enjoy making, and master it. Then move onto more difficult dishes.
  • Grow your own ingredients: picking fresh herbs and vegetables and adding them to your dish gives an even greater sense of pride and achievement.
  • Cultivate mindfulness: smell the ingredients, feel the texture, notice what happens when you mix different foods together. Take notice of all the senses.

Cooking is excellent for mental health:

  • Awakens your senses, requiring you to pay attention to the present moment.
  • Can help you get into a “flow state,” since it’s both challenging and enjoyable at the same time.
  • Provides an “escape” and breaks up the monotony of your daily routine, since there are always new recipes to try.
  • May help you feel less anxious, depressed or overwhelmed, since cooking gives you a feeling of accomplishment and can also provide pleasure. This gives you a boost in self-esteem.
  • Cooking therapy can improve your mood and general well-being such as: Requires concentration, so can act a healthy distraction that allows you to slow down and “get out of your head.” time to appreciate and enjoy what you’ve made.

Remember when cooking you are more inclined to practice mindful eating, take your time and pay attention to your hunger and fullness. The kitchen offers endless opportunities to express your creativity and find your flow. Ever noticed how 2 people can follow the same recipe and end up with different results? Part of why this happens can be attributed to the invisible element that is part of every recipe: creativity. If you suffer from anxiety or low moods, cooking could help increase your happiness.

Food to me is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together.

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