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The pandemic has reached its anniversary. Most of us maximise our days inside our house by finding and learning new hobbies. Some of us started to learn how to cook since restaurants are closed. Can this new skill help us also to cope and manage our mental health during this continuing pandemic?
Dr Michael Kocet defined culinary therapy as the therapeutic technique that uses arts, cooking, gastronomy, and an individual’s personal, cultural, and familial relationship with food to address emotional and psychological problems faced by individuals, families, and groups.
Those who cook understand how therapeutic it can be, and preparing a meal can also offer positivity to others, cooking gives satisfaction just by tasting and smelling the aromas of what you are making. Cooking, after all, brings a sense of peace. Be it a cake, lasagna, or loaf of oven-baked bread, there is something nurturing and homely about the smell and baking process that brings the same sense of comfort as a hug from your mum.
What is it about this new skill that makes us feel we are actually helping to improve ourselves?
Cooking can make us more positive
The process of chopping, stirring, tasting, and even cleaning can be meditative, introspective, calming, and just what you need to clear your mind. It is a good diversion that makes us feel at peace while doing something that will make others full.
Cooking can teach us how to be more patient
The steady process of following the different recipes and the long way to arrive at its perfect taste is already enough to develop our patience. Beginners in cooking know that you must try to meet your recipe’s desired taste.
Cooking is empowering
Who will not feel empowered when you can make something and know that your art is making other people happy? Just as P Barnum said: ‘The noblest art is that of making others happy.’
Cooking gives us a sense of satisfaction
Most moms might agree to this. Cooking gives you a certain feeling of satisfaction, especially if this is for your family. If you cook, and it is finished, and everyone praises how tasty it is, there is a certain satisfaction that will not be easily taken away from you.
Cooking lets your creativity work
At a certain point, when we are so into our cooking, we are eager to create our recipe, our art that we can call our own – cooking challenges our creativity to make and cook our recipe.
Not everyone is gifted with the skills to cook, some may feel anxious trying to cook or even being inside the kitchen, but it is a lifesaving skill worth trying to learn; after all, there is nothing to lose in trying.
Cooking feels good in all forms, boosting our hidden confidence, and with the proper combination of peace of mind, patience, sense of empowerment, satisfaction, and creativity, cooking for yourself or others can be a huge boon to your mental well-being – although your grandmother probably already knew that.
Dina Relojo is the social media manager of Psychreg. She is a teacher from the Philippines.