8 Ways Cooking is Like Meditation
As practitioners and devotees of yoga, we are no strangers to mindfulness. It’s a key part of what we do, and for some it’s what keeps them coming back. And while yoga and meditation are fundamentally tied to mindfulness, they are not the only times that you can put yourself into a mindful state.
For example, did you know that you can practice mindfulness while cooking? It’s true!
Sure, for many of us cooking has become a chore, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Cooking can be a perfect way to get into a mindful state. Plus, it offers a range of other therapeutic benefits as well.
So, take a more mindful approach in the kitchen and transform your cooking experience into one that replenishes your soul as much as it does your stomach. For more details, check out the visual by Kitchen Cabinet Kings on 8 ways cooking is like therapy with added tips.
While we probably all know what mindfulness is, let’s start out with a quick review. Mindfulness is simply focusing on the moment and calmly accepting and acknowledging the thoughts, feelings, and sensations of that moment.
Of course, this is often easier said than done. It can be hard to let go of all of the stressors that can build up in order to practice mindfulness. It’s incredibly easy to let negative emotions eat away at you. In order to practice mindfulness, you have to let go of it all, even if just for a little while.
The benefits of practicing mindfulness have been recognized for decades (or longer). Mindfulness has been shown to offer both psychological and physical benefits, including stress reduction, improved focus, enhanced cognitive flexibility, and boosts to the immune system.
In order to bring mindfulness to the kitchen, you might first need to reframe how you view the act of cooking.
It doesn’t have to be just another chore that you slog through. If you approach cooking with the mindset that the act and process of cooking can itself be as rewarding and enjoyable as the payoff (delicious, healthy food), you’ll find it far easier to shed all of those other stressors trying to crowd their way into your brain and just focus on the moment.
Look for recipes that can help you foster a mindful state of mind. The recipes might be quick, simple recipes that you can cook without thinking about or it might be complex ones that force your attention.
While cooking, truly focus on the moment. Pay attention to what you’re doing. Take your time and use extra care making sure that your technique when cutting ingredients are precise, clean, and consistent. Keep an organized space when prepping and cooking. Don’t just haphazardly throw things around.
Engage as many senses as possible to remain in the moment. Watch for the subtle changes that happen during the cooking process (such as the way an onion slowly browns when sautéed at the perfect heat). Listen to the sizzle of the oil. Smell the aromatics as they give off their fragrance. Feel the heat radiating out of your pans.
Give yourself plenty of time to avoid introducing the stress of having to be done cooking within a certain time frame. Let the entire process of cooking be relaxing, not rushed.
If you’re one of those people who has never enjoyed cooking, it might be hard to reframe it into something that can be relaxing and allow you to practice mindfulness. But you can do it!
Negative thoughts and emotions might come into your head while you are cooking, but don’t let them intrude on the moment. Just let them melt away. If you can’t address them casually and calmly, you can think about them later.
And, of course, some days it’s just not going to happen. And that’s ok. There will be another meal to cook later and you can try to make that one a more mindful experience. Keep practicing it and you will learn how to make the cooking process emotionally restorative more often.