We’ve all experienced the joy and calm of cooking, but is there really a science behind the mental health benefits of the enjoyable hobby? The answer is yes. Cooking is becoming more and more common as a treatment for a wide variety of behavioral health conditions such as ADHD, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression.
Ayurvedic medicine has been teaching us for years that there is a strong correlation between mental health and diet, but when you combine that with the act of actually choosing, preparing and cooking the food yourself, the alignment becomes obvious and a naturally stronger sense of self develops.
When you’re cooking, you’re in the moment. You’re picking up the tomato, slicing it down the middle, feeling the sensation of juice running down your hand, and finally tasting that delicious fresh fruit as it nourishes your body. All these sensations can give you a greater sense of presence, and that allows you to appreciate each moment for what it is, which in turn gives you a greater sense of happiness.
Additionally, when you activate the right side (the more creative side) of the brain, you are engaging a different part of your brain that you might normally underuse during the day, and this also can encourage a more dynamic use of cells.
You see, the brain is essentially a muscle, and the more we flex that odd muscle over and over again we end up with a stronger overall result. So whether it’s a sense of happiness or a more dynamic mind that you’re after, you should flip through some recipes and reach for the ol’ spatula. You’ll be surprised at the sense of calm cooking can provide — mind you, smoothies don’t count (wink).