Breaditation. Possibly the coolest word ever, right? Well, there is a growing movement of people who are practising mindfulness by making bread from scratch. Breaditators have found the creative, hands-on approach to be a form of therapy and relaxation with the added bonus of having warm bread to eat at the end of it! The power of creativity in the kitchen cannot be understated in the effects on a person’s wellbeing. Cooking has often been described as meditation in disguise. A chance to escape the worries and stresses of the day and just focus on creating something delicious. And while for some, cooking may simply be a means to an end, many people with anxiety and depression have found it to be so much more.

Like playing an instrument or working out at the gym, cooking is an activity that requires mindfulness. The cook needs to be immersed in the present moment – right here, right now. Attention has to be completely focussed on the task at hand. The ingredients, utensils, stove, oven… all the body’s senses are tuned into turning a bunch of ingredients into a finished product. Relish the smells of the different ingredients and the textures when you touch them. This heightened level of mindfulness is proven to ease feelings of stress and anxiety that may have been there before you pre-heated the oven and allow you to think clearer with a greater sense of calm.

A person kneads the dough whilst making bread

A few tips for getting the most out of your cooking experience:

  • Clear your kitchen space. If there’s unopened mail, unpaid bills and a half-open laptop on your kitchen bench, it’s going to be difficult to focus on cooking. Ensure that your space is clean and clear.
  • Listen to soothing music. Some people love peace and quiet when they’re cooking. Others love putting on their favourite album and bringing those feel-good vibes to the kitchen.
  • Choose healthy. A healthy brain has been linked with several crucial nutrients, including omega-3 fats, B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium and amino acids. When you cook your own meals, you see first-hand the ingredients that go into them. By opting for healthy meals and fresh ingredients, you are not only doing your physical health wonders – you’re also looking after your mental wellbeing.
  • Enjoy your masterpiece. Mealtimes are important. Enjoying your cooking with family or friends will make cooking that extra bit special. But even if you’re eating by yourself, take your time to enjoy the meal without distraction. You deserve it!

The food industry is booming in today’s society. Turn on the TV any night of the week and there’s a good chance a reality cooking show will be on. People simply can’t get enough of watching great food being produced. The idea that chefs can also be celebrities would’ve seemed bizarre a few decades ago, but not anymore. However in the middle of all of this, it’s important to note that you don’t have to produce perfection on the plate. If you aren’t a great cook, don’t worry! Gordan Ramsay will not be there to yell at you. Improving as you go is all part of the fun.

Related reading: Why listening to music makes you feel good

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