Practice Mindfulness While Cooking
The cooking process itself is extremely helpful and therapeutic for dealing with anxiety. Don’t look at cooking as a chore or something you have to do. Look at cooking as a fascinating and beautiful process. Be mindful. When you are cooking, focus on:
- The way things smell.
- How does the ingredient you are using smell?
- Is it strong? Do you like it? Do you not like it?
- How does peeling the onion feel between your fingers?
- Feel the texture of the ingredient you’re using.
- Observe the way the food/ingredient looks when it’s cooking.
- Fully immerse yourself in the way the ingredients look when they hit a hot pan.
Fully immerse yourself in the way the onion and garlic sound when they hit the hot olive oil. Use all of your senses so you can be fully present in the moment. Every moment you are in the kitchen, every sound you hear, or smell that wafts towards you, take the time to experience and enjoy it.
Often when you have anxiety, you get caught up in your fears, worries, and thoughts all the time. You forget what it’s like to actually experience things as they are happening around you. Taking the time to practice mindfulness while cooking can train your brain to focus on small things you would typically not notice so you can distract yourself from your thoughts and focus your attention elsewhere…to something positive and fun!
It will be completely natural for your mind to wander around when you first start this practice, but this is normal. Don’t get frustrated and give up on yourself. When you notice your mind starting to wander, gently bring your focus back to the cooking task you’re doing at the moment. You’re not necessarily trying to stop any bad or anxious thought that comes to mind. Rather, you are trying to let that thought be, acknowledge it, and then simply move on from it, focusing on the task at hand.
For your convenience, I have made a graphic you can print out and keep in the kitchen to always remind you of being mindful in the kitchen.