Could Cooking Therapy Help Your Mental Health?

Cook what you like, not what you like it should do

“Do something very simple that you like,” Hastings suggests before adding: This will not connect with you and you want it to mean something and bring comfort.

“Maybe a dish reminds you of something or someone and you will take the time to think while you are cooking. This is the time to eat, not just eat a meal. “

If you’re struggling with grief, that can help, Hastings says. “We can connect with these memories [through making dishes that remind you of loved ones]. It allows us to recognize that when someone is in your heart, they are always here with you. I do this when I make recipes linked to my grandmother; it helps me remember what it meant to me. Not only what he taught me about cooking, but also how he cared for me and how he supported me. “

Practice eating consciously (and even wash yourself)

Conscious eating is a tool for relaxation and awareness, taking your time to concentrate and appreciate the food you eat. Kocet explains: “I do a chocolate meditation where I make the students eat the food very slowly. Years ago, I did this when I was a therapist at a psychiatric hospital working with teens. I gave them a little chocolate and then guided them to remove the wrapper, smell the chocolate and then put it in their mouths and not chew it. I explained that when we eat consciously, we can eat more slowly, it is better for our digestion. But it is also better for our mental well-being, as it is a form of meditation. “

“After cooking, instead of throwing dishes in the dishwasher, use it as a meditation tool as well,” adds Kocet. “Wash dishes by hand and consider soap and water. Cleaning all dishes can also be a symbolic representation of cleaning up our emotional space as well as the dish itself.”

Think outside of the physical act of cooking

Whether it’s reading a cookbook from cover to cover to help you calm down or talk about your favorite children’s food, “Cooking therapy doesn’t have to necessarily involve cooking,” says Kocet. “They can just be discussions about food and food and a person’s relationship with food.”

You can go one step further by doing your own food-related homework. “There’s a children’s book that was published years ago called Soup of Tears,” says Kocet. “I usually read this story whether I work with children, teenagers or adults. the story, I have my students write their own recipe for a soup of tears and what it means for their own pain ”.

The result is not the point

“When you see little kids, they don’t know they can’t cook, so they’re great. They just stick around. They don’t care if something is perfect or not … Think that when you make a small clay cake, no one he told you how much to add or what to do, ”says Hastings, explaining that to improve your well-being through food, you need to eliminate the pressures associated with the end result.

Kocet agrees and explains that even if you make a mistake, it can be a useful tool to help you improve your self-confidence and resilience. “In one class, a student was assigned a pear pie. He got the recipe wrong and I saw that he was very depressed. I encouraged him to do something else with the ingredients. In the end, when we were tasting all the food, the class said that their favorite was the spontaneous dish they were making. The look on his face was pure shock: something that originally didn’t work, came out very well.

“That sums up why cooking therapy can be so powerful. If you’re wrong about cooking, how can you turn it around? It’s also a metaphor for other parts of your life. It’s okay to make a mistake, either. professionally at work or in relationships, ”concludes Kocet.

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