We all encounter countless stressful situations each day. But, did you know that as much as 54% of US citizens feel their stress level is usually high? And that is only a self-assessment. A closer examination would probably bump this number up by at least 10%. So what can we do about this horrible fact?
Well, meditation, practising mindfulness, working out and similar destressing methods sound like a good solution. Or at least they would if the lack of time wasn’t one of the main causes of stress. But, what if we told you that you don’t need to lose any time at all?
The many benefits of cooking
We are of course talking about cooking. Yeah, believe it or not, this simple activity is one of the greatest stress relievers you can ever get. Who knows, maybe that's the reason why our grandmas were able to deal with so much of our mischief?
Be that as it may, cooking does feature some scientifically demonstrable benefits.
- Creativity – Yeah, cooking is a very creative process. The more you let yourself loose and allow yourself to play with garnishes, the more satisfied you will feel at the end. And if you, by any chance, manage to invent a new recipe, your satisfaction and self-confidence will go off the charts.
- Manual labour relieves stress – Although it is not considered hard labour, cooking does require a certain degree of mobility and a great deal of concentration. This small dose of physical activity keeps your focus off the stressful thoughts, helps with productivity and helps your body release “feel good” chemicals.
- Mastering patience – Preparing a delicious meal takes some time. Rushing it through can only ruin your gourmand efforts. So, while you are waiting for your water to boil, your pasta to cook, your steak to roast and your bread to bake, you are, in fact, practising the art of patience and mindfulness without ever knowing.
How to properly use cooking to relieve stress
Of course, all the things we talked about are inherent to cooking but not necessarily guaranteed. If you don’t approach the activity properly, you will turn every meal preparation into a stressful mess. Here’s how to make the whole matter much more casual.
Create a safe environment
You can never feel truly safe or relaxed if your kitchen is riddled with faulty appliances and installations just waiting to go haywire. Besides, even the smallest malfunctions can lead to much worse issues further down the road. So, cut the problems in the root. For instance, if you live in Sydney, you should always keep an experienced electrician from Inner West on speed dial.
Find yourself a good partner
This simple move can help your efforts in more than one way. First, when you are alone, your thoughts tend to wander off, potentially into some dark areas. Having someone to help you with the ingredients, distract you and cheer you up can do nothing but help in this regard. Second, cooking is an excellent team-building exercise. Here's your way to remedy broken relationships and calm things down in your family after a fight.
Follow the plan but not too closely
Having the list of ingredients and a basic plan in front of you can only help you go easier through some of the basic culinary steps. However, if you stuff your recipes with too strict instructions you will suck out all the creativity and turn something beautiful into a chore. Also, do your best to go analogue while in the kitchen – out with the distracting smartphones and in with the good old written recipes.
Give yourself enough time
As we already mentioned, the lack of time is one of the greatest causes of stress. So, if you don’t have enough time to take the cooking slowly, enjoy all the flavours and aromas, and prepare the ingredients with patience and care, it is much better not to enter the kitchen at all. You’ll get plenty of opportunities to show your culinary skills some other time. Running around the kitchen will help no one.
We hope these few considerations showed you just how beneficial cooking can be if performed properly and gave you an inventive to revisit your love for delicacies more often. We are living the lives that are only going to become more stressful as time goes by. Give yourself a break you so desperately need.