Cooking and Stress Relief


osso bucco with red wine and polenta
Osso Bucco with Red Wine Sauce and Polenta


While to many cooking may be a stressful event much research shows that cooking can actually reduce your stress.

"...An important focus of cooking research to date has been on cooking’s association with nutrition and dietary quality. Less focus has been placed on how cooking might foster the qualities that allow for mitigation of psychosocial distress and promote well-being. ..."

Mechanisms at play in cooking and stress relief

"...Cooking involves simultaneous and mixed use of multiple skills. Specifically described by Short (2003), skills involved in cooking may be categorized as: cognitive, planning, perceptual, and mechanical. Cooking skills may explain the relationship between well-being and cooking in two ways. First, the use of cooking skills creates the potential for neurobiological activation. For example, mechanical cooking skills are underpinned by fine and gross motor skills (Dean et al., 2021). This movement may interact with neurobiological pathways such as the serotonergic or dopaminergic pathways (Lambert, 2006). Cooking may then mitigate psychological distress (stress, depression, and anxiety) as evidenced by reports of psychosocial benefit to cooking (Hill et al., 2007; Farmer et al., 2018). Second, skills involved in cooking are representative of life skills, such as problem-solving and planning, which are identified by the World Health Organization (2013) as fundamental to reaching psychosocial competence..." see in references: --->>Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment (PERMA Model).."....One of the unique aspects of the PERMA model, which distinguishes it from other frameworks of well-being is the inherent connection to eudemonic well-being (i.e., well-being stemming from personal fulfillment or meaning), and the focus on application of the PERMA domains within one’s life..."

Cooking as the new Meditation

Can cooking be a form of meditation? Many Psychologists now consider cooking a form of meditation that can help alleviate stress.

Cooking and Mindfulness

When one cooks, one can become fully absorbed in the process by focussing not just to the taste of the food but also to textures, smells, and colors. This awareness and mindfulness can help one stay present in the moment, reducing stress and anxiety.

"...When one cooks, one can become fully absorbed in the process by focussing not just to the taste of the food but also to textures, smells, and colors....".see reference -- Cooking as Meditation

There can be a lot of creativity in cooking which also relates to mindulness...see reference: Mindfulness and Creativity

"... It's been said that the only two jobs of a Zen monk that are more important than sitting zazen (meditation) are cooking and cleaning. Cooking is a great way to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present. It simply means living in the moment and awakening to experience. And it takes practice to be mindful. I have found that when I ritualistically cook on a regular basis it enhances my ability to be mindful about everything else I do...." see in references: How Cooking Boosts Creativity, Mindfulness, and Mastery



Cooking as Meditation

Cooking is the New Meditation

Mindfulness and Creativity

Dealing With Anxiety And Depression? Here's Why You Should Try Cooking!

How Cooking Can Help Relieve Stress

Positive Psychological Impacts of Cooking During the COVID-19 Lockdown Period: A Qualitative Study

Stress Reduction with Cooking

Well-Being and Cooking Behavior: Using the Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment (PERMA) Model as a Theoretical Framework--NIH.GOV

How Cooking Boosts Creativity, Mindfulness, and Mastery