When you stop looking at cooking as a chore, it becomes therapy — something that can help you stay stress-free. Cooking by yourself or with your partner, or with a group of friends can be very relaxing. The kitchen becomes one fun space, echoing with laughter, smiles, surprises and gossip.
Counsellors look at it as ‘Behavioural Therapy’ and feel it soothes stress, reduces negative thinking and builds confidence. When you cook, you focus on following recipes, aim at getting the best results, and have no time for negative thoughts. They believe cooking helps relieve depression, anxiety, and its manifestations, like eating disorders.
Bonding over food
Food connects people. When a new dish you prepare turns out good, the compliments from family and friends help ease stress. Even if you are cooking for yourself, you will feel good when a dish turns out well.
Keep it simple
Remember you are cooking to enjoy, not to outsmart anyone. So select a dish you like, prepare it calmly, put on soft music, go with the flow and see how you it turns into a way to meditate.
Let the creative juices flow
Cooking is an art. It involves a fair share of creativity and gives you an outlet to express yourself. Maybe you like to add some twist to a regular dish that adds a unique flavour. Maybe you use leftovers to make a new dish, or play with ingredients to surprise yourself with unexpected results.
Watching cooking shows, going through cookery books and trying new dishes encourage you to learn new skills and expand your knowledge base. When you spend time learning about food, there is less time to think about your stress and this will make you happier.
No time for negativity
To put together a good meal, all your senses need to be engaged and your mind active. You need to shop for the ingredients, wash, chop, keep tasting, make quick judgments, regulate temperature - you are on your toes. So there’s little time to think about things bothering you. At the culmination of this positive, mindful project, you feel immensely rewarded. And the bonus is – you shed some calories! Cooking involves a great deal of running around!
And when the meal is finally ready, turn on your favourite music. Open a bottle of your favourite wine and you’re all set for a magical experience!
“Cooking works as a relaxing therapy for me. I enjoy making special dinners for my family, especially for my 2-year-old daughter. For her, I try and bring creativity in my cooking and this is something I thoroughly enjoy doing. I keep trying different recipes in order to make her eat. I believe that once in a while you need a break from your daily activities and cooking has always provided me a therapeutic escape from daily chores.”
— Aavika Chhawchharia, Entrepreneur, Honey & Dough Coffeehouse & Bakery
“For me cooking is creative art. It charges me when I am feeling low and takes me to an all-time high by the time I finish cooking a dish, especially the mutton curry and the fish mustard. I can’t follow the recipes in books, I create my own on the slow fire. Cooking is my passion and it teaches me how to have patience. The joy of cooking for my guests is truly de-stressing. I enjoy sharing my recipes with them and believe me, I learn so much from them about cooking. We do these special culinary experiences at Citrus County Firdaus where we get guests who are foodies and great cooks themselves. I believe everyone needs to explore their hidden culinary skills and enjoy this lovely hobby. It’s a great saying ‘to change the way you look, change the way you cook.’”
— Harkirat Singh, Founder, Firdaus by Citrus County, Hoshiarpur