Cooking as a holistic tool for mental well-being.
We all know the benefits of a home cooked meal. We understand that cooking is a great way to take charge of your health. But what is not obvious is that cooking also helps us to unwind. Cooking is therapeutic. It is meditative and is a great way to de-stress. It helps to clear your mind and be more in touch with reality. It’s a great way to unlock your brain and let your worries go away. Cooking is one of those activities which allows you take care of all aspects of well being – mental, physical and spiritual. It nourishes your mind, body and soul. If you think you cannot cook, just step inside the kitchen and be a sous chef. Just being in the kitchen in itself is therapeutic as most kitchens have a lot of good energy which opens up all your senses.
Here are some reasons why you should consider learning this skill:
- It allows you to be creative. Being creative is important for our mental well being. Just like other creative activities like painting, drawing, music etc., cooking also serves as a good creative outlet. It has a calming effect on our mind. More and more people are going back to their kitchens to improve their mental health. Cooking is an art with a lot of science involved. When you measure ingredients and combine them together to create new flavors, your mind feels relaxed as there is always a feeling of accomplishment attached to creating a new dish.
- It helps to de-stress. Because cooking requires thinking and attention, it distracts your mind in a good way. You are in the moment and chances are you will forget those less pleasant aspects of life and focus on getting the task done in kitchen. And the delicious results are not only a treat for our taste buds but also help to increase the serotonin levels in the body. When in doubt , just remember this saying – ‘good food equals good mood’.
- Cooking is a great way to take charge of your health. Physical and mental health go hand in hand. Cooking allows you to take full control of the quality of ingredients you use. This helps you stay fit and healthy in the long run. It also helps you to be more mindful of your eating habits. Knowing what goes in the making of a dish brings a sense of satisfaction and allows you to really enjoy your meals. When you are physically fit and strong, you are able to take care of your mental well being too. Cooking also gives you an opportunity to create a stress management diet plan for yourself and include all those foods which alleviate stress in your body.
- It’s a great way to connect with others. Food is the universal language we all speak and a great way to connect with others. Another benefit of cooking is that it brings people together. Host a cooking night for your friends or friends and see how the conversations flow during your cooking time. Cooking in a group fosters good communication, and allows you to learn a lot as people share their culinary adventures. It is a great way to spend quality time with the people you care about. Cooking and eating together gives a sense of community. All of these aspects come together to improve your overall mental health.
- It’s meditative. The entire process of cooking right from sourcing the ingredients, washing the produce, chopping them and then finally cooking them together creates a calming effect in your mind. It involves all your senses, hence a great way to ground yourself.
Cooking is an important life skill. Whether you are cooking for self or for others, it will help you reduce stress and increase your mental well- being. Cooking allows you to nurture others. And it’s a beautiful feeling when you cook for your loved ones and feel appreciated. Overall, cooking is an emotionally rewarding experience. If you are not sure where to get started, just start with simple recipes with less than five ingredients. Later on you can try to cook elaborate recipes which require more time and comes with a longer list of ingredients.
So the next time you are feeling low, or lonely, put on your apron and try to recreate a simple recipe.
Happy cooking !
Monika Celly is a holistic wellness coach based in Colorado Springs. She teaches holistic ways to reduce stress, sleep better and manage weight. She also hosts wellness cooking classes virtually. She has been featured in Gazette, KCME & Fox 21 news. You can sign up for her weekly wellness newsletter at www.polkadotsandcurry.com