It turns out that many people’s love for cooking might be more than just to fill up an empty stomach but could also be an instinctual knowledge of the benefits of the therapy that comes with it. As the world changes and grows, so do our practices.
Working with media such as watercolour to create a self-portrait has enabled people to see themselves in a new light. So too can flour, sugar, and chocolate enable people to heal, change, and grow. The art of cooking is making its way into the therapeutic world in the form of what has taken shape as culinary art therapy. This is therapy that uses cooking as a means of communication and expression. Many people have a difficult time opening up about their deepest secrets or even realizing what these secrets might be. When a person has the ability to relax and engage in something creative, fun and inspiring, they have the ability to feel freer, more vulnerable, and more honest. It is then that a person can connect to the cooking process, make changes, and experience some relief from their symptoms. Its benefits are rich and delicious, and include self-esteem building, enhancing brain development, and helping people connect on a deeper interpersonal level.
Any activity which takes ones whole attention especially if it is simple and repetitive can have a calming, meditative quality. The kitchen affords one the opportunity to step off the fast track and out of normal routine. It becomes quite easy to forget about the day’s annoyances when both hands are deep in ingredients and the mind is absorbed in a recipe. Rather than thinking of cooking as another mind numbing task to race through, the focus should be on tuning in to the process. For instance one could just take time to read the recipe carefully and perform each step like stirring, simmering, and plating mindfully. The trick is to always slow down in order to let those creative juices flow because though there is a science to cooking, it is also an art. To those with jobs that demand a lot of mental focus for hours on end cooking definitely gives a good opportunity to use hands in ways that are both nurturing and good for joints. As one gets into the zone, troubles melt away and the meditative aspect of it keeps anxiety at bay.
A whiff of well marinated chicken roasting in the oven or the fruity smell of freshly baked banana bread can serve as an instant, aroma therapeutic pick-me-up. As the delicious ingredients combine, they always create wonderful smells that can transport one back to childhood. Senses of touch, hearing, sight, and taste are also activated. This is because work is put into thorough preparation methods like kneading dough, saut├®ing, measuring ingredients and of cause as one tastes their work in progress. Whisking ones way to a better mood provides both a physical and mental outlet for any kind of anxiety. Devouring the art piece is a perk worth enjoying, besides so many daily endeavours do not result in a tangible product. As if the process of cooking is not rewarding enough, indulging in the finished product maximizes the overall sense of accomplishment. Perhaps the best part of cooking is sharing the enjoyment with others. There is nothing like a homemade meal prepared with love to show them you care!