Cooking at home is an experience that’s just as sensory-filled as the actual cooking itself. The repetitive motions involved in preparing vegetables, the aroma of the cooking water, and the sound of adding pasta to the pot are just some things that make it feel like you’re in a sensory world. Having a friend or a podcast to help you out is also a great way to enhance the experience. But can it help improve your mental health?
Various professional circles focus on the use of cooking as therapy. These include culinary therapy, therapeutic cooking, and mindful cooking. They all believe that cooking can help improve mental health. Although it’s not a replacement for therapy, cooking can help improve mental health. If you’re struggling with mental health issues, it’s vital to seek professional help. But there are several science-backed ways that cooking can help improve your mood.
- Brings Feelings of Accomplishment
When you’re cooking for others, you’re setting an achievable goal that you can reach. This practice can be used in a type of therapy known as behavioral activation, which is focused on increasing the patient’s contact with sources of reward.
This practice can also help combat procrastination, boosting one’s self-esteem and improving motivation. For instance, if one were to make homemade food, it would be considered a positive outcome.
- Helps You Be Creative
In addition to improving mental health, cooking can also help boost one’s creativity. In 2016, a study revealed that people who engage in various forms of creative pursuits, such as writing, singing, and cooking, are more likely to have a positive life experience.
One of the most critical advantages of cooking at home is that it allows one to experiment with the ingredients in the dish. Even following a recipe, try incorporating different ingredients into the mix. For instance, instead of using carrots in the first recipe, use sweet potatoes instead. According to some chefs, recipes are only suggestions.
- Teaches Patience
At home, patience is required when it comes to preparing food. For instance, it’s important to take the time to prepare the garlic, ginger, and onion for optimal flavor. It can also be helpful to wait for the cookies to cool before eating them.
- Connects You With Others
Sharing a meal with others can be an enjoyable experience that can build one’s self-esteem. However, it’s also important to note that cooking for others can create a sense of community. For instance, if you’re having a group dinner, deciding who will be taking on the various tasks is essential.
- Makes A Better Relationship With Food
Learning to cook at home can also positively impact one’s relationship with food. Dr. Susan Moore of the American Dietetic Association stated that children whose parents encourage them to prepare healthy food often think positively about it.
Many people who grew up without formal cooking training were never taught how to prepare food. Learning to cook can help improve one’s confidence and eliminate the dread of preparing meals.
- Get Healthier
A study conducted by Public Health Nutrition revealed that people who cook at home are more likely to eat healthy meals than those who go out to eat weekly. According to Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, preparing meals ahead of time can also help improve one’s mental health.
- Helps With Organization
Having a consistent practice of cooking at home can help improve one’s organization and mindfulness. Before planning a meal, look at the items in your kitchen that you already have. This will allow you to make the most of the available resources and improve your grocery budget. A plan ahead of time can also help you make healthier food and manage your grocery expenses.