We all need something uplifting these days. With our usual round of entertainment perhaps not yet fully available to us, many are turning to new hobbies (or reviving old ones). Why not learn to create amazing experiences through the art of cooking? Preparing a dish is not just beneficial for better nutrition, it’s also beneficial for the mind.
Many mental health professionals credit the therapy of cooking for helping to relieve anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. The very act of cooking can reduce stress levels, improve focus, calm the mind and help to structure thoughts as you have to follow a step-by-step process to create even the simplest culinary masterpiece. Let’s dive straight into the kitchen for Cooking: 3 Ways it Can Make You Happy!
1. Simple & Therapeutic
Firstly, writing shopping lists and following recipes requires increased attention and organisation. Going into the kitchen without a plan, and cooking in a messy area won’t help you make a successful dish. Getting organised and feeling in control when cooking makes us feels calm and proud of ourselves.
Secondly, adding the correct ingredients, in the correct quantities can help improve focus and attention to detail, which after a recipe is complete, can help us feel more confident in other areas of our life too. Lastly, waiting for the dish to cook through properly requires patience and peace of mind, so that there is no over or under cooking. This helps us to pace ourselves and become more present in the moment.
2. Stimulates Mindfulness
Mindfulness is an amazing tool in stress reduction. When you cook, you are almost ‘forced’ to be mindful. When your hands are stuck into dough or dirty in seasoning, there is no chance that you can be busy with anything else, and your mind will switch off from the world too. Cooking is getting lost in the kitchen, and forgetting about everything else going on outside. Mindfulness will really help those with increased levels of stress to ground themselves and truly appreciate the food they are lucky to be able to cook and eat.
3. Encourages Creativity
Spending time in the kitchen has one other very important dimension, and that is creativity. If you are anything like me, and never use book recipes when you cook, then your imagination has to kick in. Using up ingredients you have, and combining them to create some fun flavour combinations is a great exercise in creativity. Experimental cooking is like painting with flavours, similar to how you would do with colours on a canvas. This style of cooking can provide a sense of freedom and help release negative emotions.
There are plenty amazing resources out there to help you with some cooking ideas providing you with inspiration to get into the kitchen. I gathered some of these to help you start experimenting. These resources share delicious recipes that are simple and quick to make at home, and taste as good as a restaurant dish. They will help you to both keep your body strong and nourished, and your mind healthy too.