Wednesday, 7 October 2020

How Cooking and Positive Mental Health Go Hand-in-hand

During the past few months, mental health has been severely damaged across the US and the world; and acknowledging that and working on positive mental health is very important, especially when it falls in line with body positivity and good physical health. Here’s how cooking fosters positive mental health:


1)   Improving physical health


Psychologists and health scientists alike are becoming more aware of the links between physical health and mental health; many are concluding that what’s good for your body is also good for your brain. Cooking is a great way to achieve this, as cooking at home is healthier than eating out or getting a takeaway, partly because when you’re in control of the salt and fat content, you’re less likely to overeat these. You also get to avoid processed foods and consume more vegetables.


2)   A sense of freedom


Cooking can make you feel freer, according to Nicole Farmer, Katherine Touchton-Leonard and Alyson Ross. Cooking nurtures feelings of autonomy and freedom prompted by being able to add whichever ingredients you fancy; you’re restricted only by your own ability and the ingredients you have in your house. There’s a level of personal satisfaction that comes from caring for yourself and, when you cook for yourself, you’re actually engaging in a process of self-love and self-care. Cooking in a small kitchen could feel confined, but a barbecue can really enhance that level of freedom. Standing outside in the fresh air while you tend to your dinner can enhance that sense of freedom even more. What’s more, you’ll get to learn new skills specific to BBQs, like how long a propane tank lasts at, and how to use BBQ-specific tools.


3)   Creativity


Creativity is well-known as being good for mental health. It allows your brain to escape some of the longer-term problems that might be on your mind, and enables you to express yourself. Expressing yourself through a creative endeavor increases your happiness, puts you in a flow state and reduces anxiety. It also boosts your mood and slows your heart rate. When you’re in the present, you help to channel out some of the 60,000 thoughts that cascade through your mind on a daily basis, helping you to be focused and at peace.


4)   Self-confidence


When you start to cook for yourself, you get to know yourself a lot better. You get to explore your tastes and please your taste-buds however you like. When you start to get better at cooking and get better at making things that you love to taste, you will have a self-confidence boost. When you feel comfortable enough to cook for other people, hopefully they’ll be encouraging, which will boost your confidence even further. There’s nothing like honing a new skill too and, with cooking, there’s really no limit. As soon as you get confident in one style, you can explore other cuisines and start to master whichever tastes you feel drawn to.


These are just some of the ways that cooking can improve your mental health, it’s an important skill that can improve your day-to-day life majorly. 

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