As much as the human history abounds in evidence of stress relief through indulging in unhealthy vices, overeating, binge-watching your favourite TV shows or smoking, the outcome of these has never proven to be beneficial to those who practised them. On the contrary, people would feel even worse which will increase their stress levels even more.
Not many people have ever considered cooking to be a great stress reliever but it is an activity that can be extremely beneficial for your mental and emotional health as well as for your wallet. Cooking is an effective therapy even if it turns out to be fattening. It can be a great de-stressor as it offers a creative outlet and activates your senses which otherwise get numb due to constant pressure.
If this sounds like an appealing idea, keep reading to find out what benefits there are in cooking.
Mental health benefits
Mental health experts attribute healing properties to cooking as it can be a helpful tool in relieving anxiety, depression and managing eating disorders. Many health clinics around the world have started incorporating cooking therapy as a kind of behavioural therapy, much like art or music therapy has been used for decades.
The act of cooking that involves preparation of ingredients, chopping, stirring and whisking is not only very meditative in their nature but it will also subtly lead you into improving your diet which is closely linked to mental health. Doing such pleasurable actions also causes your body to produce higher levels of serotonin, the happiness hormone.
From a psychological viewpoint, cooking is a behavioural activation that requires your deep engagement and attention as you need to measure ingredients, taste, make quick assessments and add or subtract heat. This simply means you have to be fully focused and mindful until you reach your goal which is usually a delicious meal.
From a physical aspect, cooking leads to a quick gratification since we are hungry animals after all. Moreover, good, nutritious food prepared at home from fresh ingredients and with controlled amounts of sodium can help in reducing your blood pressure as opposed to restaurant food that usually contains 20% more sodium.
Cooking is also a relaxing activity not only because your mind is focused and free from negative thoughts that might otherwise occupy your brain, but also because you do things the way you want in a time frame you set up. If that means the whole morning, so be it! If it takes a few scented candles and your favourite music blasting, then do it! Whatever makes you feel good goes as there is no wrong way of doing it.
The only precaution you need to take is ensuring you cook in a safe environment with proper tools and appliances. It surely helps to have good quality cookware and bakeware, cute dishes and fancy knives, but to be on the safe side, all your appliances must be properly installed. This is best left to a professional and if you’re a Sydneysider, relying on services of a reliable electrician in Sydney will set your mind at ease so you can devote your attention to preparing delicious meals for you and your family.
It helps you be creative
Cooking also encourages you to be creative and allows you the freedom to decide which direction to take. You get to play with ingredients, spices and seasonings until you reach the balance that soothes your senses. No one says you can’t change the recipes if you love the final result. And there are no rules when it comes to embellishment and decorations!
It teaches patience
Finally, cooking demands a level of patience as it takes some time to produce a delicious meal. There are recipes to read, cooking strategies to study, ingredients to pick and various utensils and appliances to use. All of this is time-consuming but eventually greatly rewarding when your friends and family enjoy the final product!
After all these benefits, one more thing shouldn’t be forgotten – cooking is also great fun! Whether you do it alone, with your partner or your kids, it’s a wonderful activity with numerous health benefits that should be enough to convince you to stop ordering take-outs and spend more quality time in your kitchen.