If the thought of going back to your place and making a home cooked meal doesn’t sound very tempting and you would rather rely on the same old takeout for sustenance, think again. According to the latest research, cooking is not only a way of staying healthy, but also a way of keeping your mental health in check. Here’s why:

Cooking is rewarding

One of the biggest challenges that people with mental illnesses struggle with is feeling good about themselves and their accomplishments. In many cases, but especially in the ones of comorbidity – the presence of a mental health issue in a person with addiction, you often feel like all your actions are meaningless and that you have no purpose. Because cooking gives you a final product at the end, a warm, healthy and nutritious meal that you made with your own hands, you will experience a sense of reward and accomplishment that will give you a boost of confidence.

Cooking helps with stress, anxiety and PTSD

Episodes of extreme stress, anxiety and PTSD can affect your daily life, preventing you from enjoying the little things and making even simple activities such as going to work or going out with friends feel crippling and terrifying. One way of combatting symptoms and remaining calm in times of mental pressure is to have something to focus on, something to keep you busy. Cooking is a great example, because you have to pay attention to every step: measuring the ingredients, blending everything together, monitoring the temperature and adding the finishing touches. Before you know it, cooking will become your daily dose of meditation, where you will be able to relieve stress and calm down.

 

Cooking is a creative hobby, and creativity breeds happiness

Doing sports has been linked to stress reduction and mental health benefits, but for some people, jogging or doing competitive team sports only flares up their depression. There are many examples of successful sports pros who struggled with mental illness because their world was too competitive and challenging. If sports didn’t work for you, try cooking. One way that cooking is more helpful is that, being a creative activity, it boosts happiness and self-esteem. Take it slow, start with simple recipes and once you’ve mastered those, you’ll see how spending a couple of hours in the kitchen will ground you in reality and help you feel more focused.