Cooking As Therapy

Melinda Lavine explores how cooking can improve one’s mental health:

“Research concludes that cooking and baking can decrease symptoms of depression, anxiety and promote positive mood and self-confidence, said Annie Leusman, MSAW / social worker at St. Luke’s Mental Health Clinic.

“Cooking and baking call for cognitive, physical and socio-emotional processes. It completely immerses you, and it uses all the senses.

“‘When you’re cooking, maybe you’re smelling the garlic, sauteing olive oil. You might taste the soup to make sure you have the seasoning right. You can hear cooking, the chopping of vegetables, the knife on the cutting board,’ Leusman said.”

Cooking As Therapy

Health care professionals are using cooking and baking to treat depression, reports Jeanne Whalen:

“The courses are often partly aimed at teaching healthy cooking and eating skills to people living tough, chaotic lives. Counselors say the classes also soothe stress, build self-esteem and curb negative thinking by focusing the mind on following a recipe. Often the courses are part of a larger treatment plan that can also including talk therapy or medication.”