Cooking as a Therapeutic Tool

August 9, 2018 in Psychology 0 Shared
Some berries.

Cooking is one of those activities that combines art, technique, and knowledge. It’s a field in which culture and affections are put into play in a single task. Basically, we eat the landscape that surrounds us. We prepare it based on acquired traditions and knowledge and we do it depending on the relationship with others.

There are several different ways to look at cooking. One of them is the most practical. You cook whatever there is to cook, however you can cook it, in order to fulfill nutritional needs. Another way of looking at it is commercial, since food preparation is also a business.

“The kitchen is the alchemy of love.”

Guy de Maupassant

However, the most effective, creative, and social way of looking at cooking is oriented towards finding pleasure in it and getting others to enjoy the results. When food is prepared without any hurry and with the aim of communicating affection and making a moment special for those we love, then it also stops being a professional task and tus turns into a personal expression. It also becomes a therapeutic tool.

Sensory awareness, the first contribution of cooking

Cooking is one of those activities that involves all the senses. These remain active throughout the whole process, until the end. Sight, hearing, touch, and of course, smell and taste should all be set in motion during this labor. When we eat, the same thing happens.

In this way, cooking becomes a true rainbow of sensations. Therefore, it implies an integral experience. It’s one of the few activities nowadays that allows this parade of sensory impressions, which is always very rewarding.

Cooking is therapeutic.

Cooking is a creative experience

One of the most interesting aspects of cooking is that it’s an activity in which the result is never the same. The same person can cook a dish twice and it will not turn out exactly the same. Two people can replicate the same recipe and the taste will be different. To that extent, it’s a very personal activity, and therefore, a creative one.

Likewise, it’s one of those tasks that allows for infinite variations. It welcomes change in every single one of the steps. Sometimes, in the way we prepare certain foods and other times in the way we present them. Also, in the ingredients that are used, how long we cook them, and the accompaniments that are added. Cooking is pure creativity.

Patience and concentration

Cooking is one of those activities that involves successive steps. More so than in other activities, you have to complete one step before moving on to the next one. It requires patience. Cooking times don’t depend on you.

Man making dough.

In the same way, you do a lot of tasks while cooking, sometimes even simultaneously. For example, while you set the dough aside so it can rest, you start working on the filling. Or while something is boiling, you get everything ready for the next step. This demands that you focus your attention on what you’re doing and only on that. This boosts our concentration.

Problem-solving and decision making

Cooking is unpredictable. You’re cooking something and your chicken burned because you got distracted. Or you realize that the food doesn’t have the texture and consistency you wanted. All those small problems require a solution. And the exercise to solve those difficulties implies a stimulus for your intelligence.

The fact of the matter is, you have to make many decisions during the preparation of a dish. The recipe may say that you’re supposed to bake something for 10 minutes but you realize that it’s not enough time. That requires you to analyze the situation and think about what you’re going to do. Cooking boosts your decision-making capacity.

Relaxing and entertaining

When you have a positive attitude, cooking becomes a relaxing activity. The important thing is to not cook nervously or to expect to get perfect results. Ideally, you can prepare everything calmly and keep an open mind.

A woman cooking.

Cooking with your partner or with friends can be a very fun and friendly experience. In the same way, serving a dish that was prepared with our own hands shows affection. With a good attitude, this activity can be incredibly fun and rewarding.

We don’t have to be experts to get into it. Having a good attitude and a basic plan is more than enough. It’s an activity that you can do at home and is available to anyone. In addition, its psychological and social benefits are undeniable. You should definitely try cooking something today!

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