When you think of cooking, what comes to mind? Is your mom making dinner? A partner whipping up a meal? Cutting up veggies? A chef competition on TV? What about…mental health, physical health, and social health? These three things aren’t usually your go-to thoughts when someone mentions cooking, but they should. Can cooking really be emotionally beneficial? It actually can. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with stress, pain, anxiety, and depression, it is even more critical that we take a proactive approach to caring for our mental health. And if cooking a meal can help improve our mental state, count me in!
5 Therapeutic Benefits Of Cooking
Therapy can come in many forms such as spending time in nature, mediation, and even cooking. If you have never considered cooking to be therapeutic, we share 5 therapeutic benefits of cooking.
Cooking is a skill much like sports, crafting, and playing the piano. The more we work at it, our skills improve. When we put a valiant effort into our cooking, we are often surprised by what we can accomplish on our own! Wonderful tasting meals don’t have to come from your chef friend’s kitchen or the restaurant down the street. Once you realize the abilities you can possess, your confidence will skyrocket.
Have you ever had an amazing meal that you want everyone to know about? Now imagine if that meal was something you could make! Cooking for others can become a beloved activity, especially when we choose to share. Cooking for others can bring groups of people together. It can create deeper connections and relationships with those you love as you sit around the table and share the meal you prepared, or even as you invite them in to help as you cook.
If you struggle with anxiety, you know how debilitating racing and intrusive thoughts can be. One of the many emotional benefits of cooking is the amount of focus preparing a meal takes. As you focus on each task at hand, it closes the gaps of our minds where these racing thoughts and intrusive words live. If you allow yourself to become fully immersed in the cooking experience, negative thoughts will subside and you will become engrossed in the details of cooking.
An Act of Self-Care
Life is demanding. Often we are constantly trying to ensure we are meeting the needs and expectations of those around us. Work, school, family, and friends have a tendency to find a place in line before ourselves. In cooking, there is an element of self-care, according to Nedra Shield, a licensed independent clinical social worker. She says, “If you’re cooking good food for yourself or things that make you feel good, cooking can literally be nourishing to yourself and that’s important.”
Most cooking begins with a recipe that is followed line by line. But as you spend time cooking and experimenting with recipes, it can become a creative outlet! Food has little boundaries and is a wonderful way to try something new that is low risk.
As part of Pure Life Adventures outdoor therapy, our students will have the opportunity to cook community meals with our Costa Rican families. We will be blending two of our favorite therapy models to bring positive change to our students.
Being outside, simply on its own, has an incredibly positive impact on our mental health and physical well-being. More studies come out each year showing positive side effects of time spent in nature. We see reduced stress, reduced anxiety, positive outlooks, and grounding when time is spent outside. At Pure Life, we combine these two holistic approaches and allow our students to experience the benefits of cooking outdoors. We blend the therapy of cooking and the therapy of being outdoors to teach self-confidence, care of others, coping, and so much more.
Pure Life Adventure Wilderness Therapy For Young Adults
Pure Life Adventure outdoor therapy opens up a myriad of opportunities that young adults may not otherwise have the chance to experience or may be scared to try. Our intention is to break them out of the everyday cycle that could be affecting their mental health and state of life.
One of the many activities that young adults will be experiencing during Costa Rican outdoor therapy is learning the health benefits and social benefits of cooking outdoor meals. We cook with an emphasis on locally grown, organic produce harvested directly from the Pure Life garden.
Our bodies house all our emotions, thoughts and allow us to experience life. We want our students to be educated on how to not only properly care for their bodies with healthy food choices, but to see all that they are capable of doing on their own. From harvesting food directly from our garden, preparing meals through teamwork, and cooking outdoor meals to be enjoyed by others. We bring a holistic approach to therapy with the guidance of licensed therapists to work through mental health issues while also teaching our students life skills that will benefit them beyond the wilds of Costa Rica.
Pure Life Adventures is part of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council (OBHC) and Association for Experiential Education AEE accredited.
If you are experiencing difficulties with your mental health, are being dragged down by the rigors of life, or simply aren’t sure what you are supposed to do next in life, contact us at Pure Life Adventures. Our outdoor therapy will soothe your soul, mind, body and provide you with the insight and skills to continue forward.
If you are the parent of a struggling young adult who could benefit from a change in scenery, or may need more intimate guidance to help them progress to the next step of life, please reach out to Pure Life today!
Join us in reaping the benefits of cooking outdoors while also experiencing white water rafting, rappelling, surfing, community sharing and more.