Good food is important to keep you healthy, and the preparation process may be an effective way to keep you sane. Cooking can be a useful and efficient means of dealing with anxiety and depression or any other mental condition.
Therapists or counselors utilize cooking as a therapy tool. Culinary art therapy or cooking therapy is an approach used to express emotions and thoughts often associated with a mental disorder. The actual process of cooking is known to relieve stress and encourage self-esteem that may alleviate any negative thoughts caused by a mental condition.
Engaging in a productive activity such as cooking is a way to distract oneself from depression. Seeing the results of your creation can also be pretty rewarding. It can boost self-confidence and restore self-worth.
Here’s what culinary therapist Julie Ohana has to say about cooking as a form of therapy: “In a nutshell, CAT combines emotional wellbeing with a very practical real need that we all have. We all need to eat. And certainly, we are all better off if we know and not only feel comfortable in the kitchen but if we can actually enjoy our food prep time and it makes us a better person. That is a whole lot of pluses in my book.”
Your Culinary Creativity
Whether you take cooking classes or learn on your own or it’s a skill you already possess, you can exercise the freedom to put your culinary creativity into practice. You can look up recipes on the Internet or dig up your grandmother’s timeless recipes or experiment on an original dish and get busy in the kitchen.
Starting with simple, healthy dishes may be a good idea. If you feel like preparing a hamburger though, no one is stopping you. The goal of the food preparation process is to help distract you from anxiety and depression. However, since mood disorders cause weight gain, it is advisable to use healthy recipes.
Food can also affect your mood, so if you plan to indulge in your own cooking, it is sensible to use ingredients that stimulate happy moods such as eggs, meat, poultry, asparagus, peas among others or foods that are known for their calming effect such as leafy greens.
You can be adventurous and try gourmet food. Exploring dishes from other countries are encouraged.
Why Cooking Can Be Therapeutic
Do not think of cooking as a chore but as an enjoyable activity that can be rewarding when you see people enjoy your culinary creation.
As most mental conditions cause an individual to feel socially isolated, attending cooking classes may encourage you to socialize and make you feel connected to other people. Cooking for others can advocate bonds, which is beneficial for those suffering from social disorders.
Cooking can make you feel accomplished once you complete a dish. That sense of self-pride can help you see yourself in a better light.
Following instructions in a cooking class or in a recipe can help improve learning skills. This can be an advantage to those suffering from learning disabilities.
The whole process of preparing food can relieve stress, which may seem ironic since cooking involves a lot of work, but if you view it as something entertaining, then it can be an effective stress buster.
On the other hand, Psychiatrist Michael Thase says, “No treatment is perfect and no treatment works for everyone, Thase states. Both experts agree if you have depression or anxiety, your first step should be getting help from a mental health professional. But trying out nutritional changes in parallel with whatever steps you and your doctor decide may potentially bolster the improvements.”
Cooking Can Be Productive
It is better to make use of your time whipping up dishes rather than sitting around and doing nothing until anxiety or depression cloud over you.
Cooking may not only be therapeutic for you, but you can make other people happy when you serve them your completed dishes.
Picking up a hobby is a good way to help stress and emotions spurred by mental health conditions, and you might find the perfect activity in the kitchen. You’ll actually be surprised to find the constant clanging sounds of pots and pans, the rhythmic music of cutting, the bubbly sound of a boiling soup relatively calming. As Jennifer Baker, Ph.D. said in her article, “Cutting tomatoes might not “do it” for everyone, but, for some of us, that could be part of the problem. A problem that cutting tomatoes might actually help solve.”