Cooking- some people would rather sit back and enjoy the meal rather than actually getting up to do the prep and stirring. That is a visible form of relaxation for sure, but cooking itself is also a relaxing activity for many. How? Well, let’s think about it- coming home after work and then just putting on some light music as you chop away at some vegetable- the steady rhythm of the knife falling against the cutting board, allowing you to unwind and let your mind relax as practiced muscle activity takes the place of concentrating. Wayne Imber says that it allows one to slow down and center them because you cannot rush the amount of time something needs to cook for.
This type of culinary treatment is being used as part of the treatment for a wide range of behavioral and mental health problems like depression, ADHD, anxiety, paranoia, eating disorders, and addiction. But how? Let’s read on below:
- Healthy mind: Preparing meals yourself allows you to control the quality of your diet and having a nutritious, high quality meal will assist you in keeping the brain healthy. Researchers have also established links between brain health and several nutrients like vitamin B, iron, zinc, omega 3 fats, magnesium, and amino acids. It’s important to feed your brain these nutrients and for that you have to know exactly what you are feeding it.
- Mindfulness: This is described as focusing on the sensory experiences of cooking- like if you are peeling an orange then start off by observing its skin and then move on to its color, smell and then see how it feels to your touch. Then ultimately, have a slice and taste what you have been feeling till now- savor the taste and flavour. So the very process and act of cooking can improve your psychological well being as focusing on these moment to moment actions will prevent you from worrying about other problems and thus reduce stress.
- Appreciate your work: Cooking and prepping takes a lot of work and it frequently goes unappreciated, even by yourself for the food you have cooked. For this, reflect on how it reached the dining table, just like it was done with an orange- when a tree was planted, it grew and blossomed, an orange appeared which was then picked, put into a box and then taken to a distributor and then transported to a market. So, a lot of work went into it and appreciating one little orange’s journey might make you feel better about yourself.
- Creativity: As per Wayne Imber , cooking is about imagination as well, especially in regard to what will go with what. So think of the flavors you like and try to incorporate them rather than going out to buy a long list of ingredients. Make with what you have in your fridge. At the end of it you might have developed your own unique recipe. This will certainly give you a self esteem boost.
So, if you are feeling down from life and work, how about getting up and giving cooking a try. Don’t make the process a chore or something which is stress inducing- just try to enjoy the whole process.