Preparing food has always felt therapeutic to me. Whether it’s carefully following a cookie recipe or focusing on chopping vegetables, there’s just something about baking and cooking that calms me. Maybe it’s the fact that when I am preparing something in the kitchen, it gives me a sense of control in a chaotic world. I’m also a creative person at heart, so making things with my hands has always brought me joy.
Psychology Today may have said it best: “Cooking is meditation with the promise of a good meal after.” Here are some ways you can enjoy the de-stressing benefits of spending time in the kitchen.
Keep your kitchen tidy
Ever feel stressed out when your house is messy? There’s a reason for that. According to a study in the journal Psychological Science, working in a neat space not only reduces stress hormones but also helps you make healthier choices than if you were working in a cluttered one.
Take time to prepare your ingredients
‘Mise en place’ is the French cooking term used to describe your array of prepared ingredients ready to be added to your recipe. Chopping and measuring everything before hand makes the cooking process itself much more efficient. The simple act of chopping and organizing everything before you get started has calming effects.
Be present in the moment
Appreciate the mouth watering smells, the delicious flavors, bubbling liquids and the sound of food hitting a hot pan. Letting your senses take over and enjoy the experience takes your mind off the stresses of the day.
Make food for friends and family
Preparing wholesome foods for the ones you love is a form of altruism, which can help you feel happy and connected to others. Julie Ohana, a licensed masters clinical social worker and culinary art therapist, told the Huffington Post:
“There’s a tremendous amount of confidence-boosting and self-esteem boosting, performing an act like cooking for others.”
If you’ve been stressed due to conflict with a partner, cooking together can help you work it out by encouraging communication and cooperation while honing your conflict resolution skills.
Set the table
We’ve all heard the jokes about the sad person eating over the sink or alone in front of the TV. Dining with family or having friends over and taking the time and care to set the table and sit down together is another act of mindfulness that can reduce stress. It helps you enjoy your meal more and it’s even better for digestion!
What are your favorite ways to de-stress in the kitchen? Share in the comments section below and sign-up for Luvo’s newsletter for more nutritious recipes and exclusive giveaways.