Meditative Qualities of Cooking

Do you ever feel joy when preparing food in the kitchen? Have you ever wondered why cooking makes you feel good? There is an abundance of science-backed reasons as to why cooking makes us happy. It’s actually quite simple. Cooking has many meditative qualities, which aid in connecting the mind and body.

Image Credit: Finer Minds
Image Credit: Finer Minds

Meditation, a method of relaxation, is something millions of people across the globe partake in every day. The purpose of meditation is to bring more acceptance and awareness to one’s self. Studies have proven meditation to be an effect manner of centering one’s self, bringing them into the present moment. A typical meditation practice focuses heavily on deep breathing, allowing the brain to release endorphins, emitting a calming sensation. Correlating directly to the inner calm is a new feeling of mental clarity. The same awareness and calmness may also be obtained by cooking a meal in the kitchen, and here’s why.

 

Repetition:

Image Credit: La Badiane
Image Credit: La Badiane

Cooking is a task that requires many repeated actions. From chopping, slicing, grating, or stirring, a simple motion is executed over and over again. This repeated motion stimulates and releases dopamine, otherwise known as one of the four ‘feel good’ chemicals. Dopamine is primarily in charge of one’s motivation, providing self-encouragement.

 

Control:

Image Credit: Like Success
Image Credit: Like Success

When your cooking, evidently, you are the one in control. Each choice you make is a practice of awareness by deliberately choosing each and every ingredient of the meal. The delectably seasoned, carefully crafted final dish, all the way down to the presentation, provides a sense of accomplishment; a show of all the effort that went into making the end product. This accomplishment stimulates the reward and a pleasure circuit running throughout the limbic system.

 

Aromatic:

Image Credit: Homesteading
Image Credit: Homesteading

Being in the kitchen is a very aromatic experience. Make the most of it by utilizing fresh ingredients with invigorating scents. Lemon, lime, orange and other citrusy smells are known for their ability to lift moods and reduce stress. Mint leaves, basil, thyme, and other fresh herbs have been linked to an increase in mental clarity. Smells may also lead to recounting pleasurable memories or exciting events. This ability to transport you into a different state is extremely meditative.

 

In end, it is extremely important to find time to connect your mind and body. If traditional meditation is something you find difficult, stepping into the kitchen may provide all the stress relief and body connection you need!

Alaina Carstensen

Gastronomy Content Contributor

Alaina Carstensen is a high school senior at Milton High School. Alaina is a dog lover and a tea fanatic who absolutely loves being in the kitchen. She takes every possible opportunity to cook a fresh meal.

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