Stress Management (assignment 22): Cooking Away the Stress

So, thus far the posts concerning food are usually correlated with weight as well, such as “eat the stress away.” Although the use of food can be a great coping mechanism for stress, it can also lead to some pretty serious health problems such as high cholesterol levels and unhealthy weight gains. So, I have come up with a much better way to enjoy the benefits of eating to relieve stress… get rid of the stress before you eat… to do so,  prepare the meal! This is a stress management technique that I like to use when I have a kitchen available and some good company.

Rather than going out to a restaurant  or grabbing some fast food when you have a craving, try slowing things down a little bit. Think about something you would really enjoy eating (the options aren’t limited to what’s on the menu!), then take a trip to the store and get anything you will need to make the dish.

Once you have the necessary ingredients, the best part begins… the creation. Preparing the food can be quite therapeutic in that you get to chop, slice, dice and stir… and if you are really stressed, maybe pick a meal for which you will have to do some tenderizing; that can be quite relieving as well.

Now that food is prepped, you get to turn up the heat and throw your meal into some heat. Now you will be enveloped by the magnificent scents created by your own hands, rather than the unknown chef at the restaurant. How satisfying is that!

Finally, with the food prepped and ready, sit down and enjoy it in good company. Meal time provides a great environment for casual discussion and time to let go of what is bothering you.

I was able to find a great article on the subject here.

I also find it quite enjoyable to watch the food network and other food shows to get some ideas for the next meal.

This stress management technique is effective in combating stress because it is something that you have control over what you are doing. Everything will be done the way you want it to be, and it also provides a number of different outlets. A trip to the store could physically remove you from the are of stressor, as well as provide some social support if you are cooking for more than yourself. One could also that cooking could give you some exercise. Certainly walking aroudn a grocery store (if you know them like I do, poorly) will give you some exercise, but even food prep can give you some exercise if you need to stir together ingredients or chop a lot of vegetables. Time in the kitchen could also give you some time to meditate. All of the mentioned outlets are said by Sapolsky to help lower stress levels.


3 Responses to “Stress Management (assignment 22): Cooking Away the Stress”

  1. 1 whitneyroberts May 11, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    The title of this blog really caught my attention. When I am home, whenever I feel a little stressed or anxious, I turn to cooking to relieve that stress. I google an easy recipe and bake or cook my stress away. I didn’t realize the whole idea you mentioned about the therapeutic benefits of chopping, and stirring, but thinking about it, it makes perfect sense. I may not always eat the goodies I make (but it never goes to waste with my family) but just the feeling I get when I cook is what I search for to relieve my stress.

  2. 2 alexleigh6 May 12, 2011 at 9:40 am

    I love this ariticle because i LOVE the foodnetwork. My roomate and I have it on all the time, even when were not watching it and just doing homwork it has to be on. I guess I never realized it before but after reading your article, I can relate that cooking and watching cooking shows relieves my stress. It helps me to feel calm and whenever I cook, I feel like I am in my element and I have control over what happenes. When I feel in control, it definitely helps me cope with my stressful emotions.

  3. 3 eglundberg May 17, 2011 at 2:18 am

    I loved this article! Cooking is one of my favorite things to do. Before I came to college, I would help my mom make dinner every night at the beginning of high school and as I became a junior and senior I would be the one making dinner for my parents and siblings.
    I had a lot of extra-curriculars that stressed me out after school, so I knew that as soon as I got home it was time to de-stress. I was on a competitive cheerleading team, and that’s enough stress and drama in itself. I would come home and begin to prepare dinner for my family which helped me calm down after being worked up and tolerable for my family to actually talk to me. After reading this article it made me realize how much cooking really did make me less stressed and more approachable to friends and family.

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