5 Ways How Cooking Can Help Lower Stress


Stress has always been correlated with the modern day lifestyle as an alarming number of individuals complain of stress, anxiety and tension. Even though there are various stress management techniques, cooking is a natural stress reliever.

CookingPhoto by d Marjan Lazarevski, CC BY-ND 2.0

While some fear the kitchen, cooking is a great way to soothe the stressed mind. Find it hard to believe? Take a look below at some ways that explain how cooking can help lower stress.

1. Creativity

Stress can numb your mind and obstruct the thinking process as well. Cooking is a great way to get the creative juices flowing in you. The process of trying out an innovative recipe or creating something from nothing but a few raw ingredients greatly fosters creativity.

Selecting the ingredients, chopping the vegetables in different shapes and sizes, mixing, stirring, adding spices, seasonings, and decorating the final outcome in a plate – This is a great stress buster as it lets us be creative in our own way unlike the routine job in front on the computer.

2. Activating The Senses

Psychiatrists believe while stress at times can numb or impact the sensory nerves, cooking is a great way to activate all the five senses. The scents of different cooking ingredients, herbs and spices not only activates the sense of smell but the aroma can have an energizing effect by completely elevating your mood.

Also, viewing the raw vegetables and other ingredients, the sound of the utensils & crockery, the sensation of heat from the cooking stove and the tasting of the dish – All of this activates the sight, hearing, touch and taste sense, which is much needed in our busy lives.

3. Being In Control

Often we get stressed when things do not work out the way we imagine them to or when our life is beyond our control. Cooking is a great way to increase self confidence in such a situation and gain a morale boost as you are in complete control of the environment while cooking. It is comforting and reassuring when we make a particular dish and the end result is exactly how we desired it to be.

Also, cooking gives us a sense of power and control when we are chopping or butchering down the vegetables which can take out the anger and frustration of the day. In this way, no matter how hard your day might have been, how things might not have worked out, when you come home and cook, you are in complete control of at least a small part of your day and life which can be very comforting.

4. The Healing Effect

The modern lifestyle has not only led to stress but also to broken hearts, boredom, insomnia, depression and anxiety. Also, the hectic schedules, crowds, traffic, air and sound pollution often cause stress in many working professionals.

Cooking is a great way to spend some quality time alone. The kitchen provides a quiet and peaceful environment away from the crowds and traffic where you can connect with your inner self. Like meditation, this can have a healing effect on you.

5. Stress Relieving Foods

Various studies indicate that certain foods can cause a significant reduction in stress and number of stress hormones in the body. Certain foods have also proven to be great remedies for anxiety, depression and headaches.

Some of them are:

  • Apple – Sniffing an apple can reduce headache and various types of migraines.
  • Tea – Drinking black or green tea helps to lower stress, remove toxins and improve attention & focus.
  • Coconut – Inhalation of the scent and consumption of coconut lowers the heart rate and reduces stress.

Also, foods like dark chocolate, tuna, milk, peppermint, carrots, yoghurt and almonds help to lower stress.

The next time you feel stressed, it is time to go to the kitchen, pick up a sauté pan and start cooking your way to peace and happiness.