Let me show you how to make cooking more fun and relaxing. When you do this you will get a beautiful meal and you will enjoy making it, too.
How do you achieve every self development / self improvement goal in one single exercise?
You probably can’t. After all, there are thousands of personal goals people have in their lives. There’s weight loss and fitness, productivity, motivation, happiness, and positivity and a whole lot more. You probably can’t achieve all that in one go.
That being said, this cooking exercise certainly manages to cover a heck of a lot of ground.
It combines healthy living with creativity with mindfulness with relaxation with stress reduction and a whole lot more.
And even if you’re not looking to achieve any specific aims, for any budding chefs out there, any excuse to play with food in a new way can surely only be a good thing.
Some of the many ways cooking can help you are:
Controlling your Emotions: Because smells naturally produce emotional responses, by cooking with certain fragrances you’ll be changing your mood. Stressed? Cook with relaxing fragrances. Feeling a little bored and indifferent? Cook with the aromas of passion!
Social: One of the most obvious benefits of cooking. Who doesn’t love a good chef?
Developing Creativity: Anybody who’s been cooking for a long time will likely be more than aware of how creative an experience it can be. Put that cookbook down and use you creative flair!
Stress Reduction and Relaxation: Partially covered by the aromas discussed above, cooking also helps relaxation and stress reduction by centring the mind around a pleasing task and, of course, by the (hopefully) delightful result.
Intuitiveness and mindfulness: If you cook without a recipe and with ingredients you don’t use very often, you’ll be forced to pay very close attention to the ingredients you’re working with; or, to put it another way: You’ll be using your nose a lot. This helps you to live in-the-moment (because you’re responding to environmental stimuli rather than plans) and you’ll have to trust your gut instinct, working out what will go with what based entirely off your instincts
All right, so let’s get to it. This time around we’re going to be creating a meal which will make you relax and will help to reduce stress.
Preparing a Meal of Relaxation and Stress Reduction
*If you are new to cooking, read my guide to Learning To Cook For Yourself With A Twist.
* If you’re a talented chef I advise you to be creative. Use the following ingredients and create a meal without a recipe, this will force you to work in-the-moment, to use your intuition, to be more aware and sensitive to the smell of the food and, above anything else, to have fun and be playful with this exercise. If you don’t have much experience cooking then there’s a simple-to-follow recipe below which will produce equally positive results.
Fish: you can choose which fish you want to cook with (though Salmon is recommended) but pick one rich in fatty oils. Fish are known to boost the immune system, reduce acne and stress and improve eyesight.
Citrus Fruits: again, choose whichever citrus fruits you wish. .Fruits rich in vitamin C lower the level of stress hormones.
Honey: Natural honey is high in tryptophan, which relaxes the body, and potassium, which soothes the brain and nerves.
Brown Rice: As a complex carb, brown rice helps the release of insulin, which promotes healthy sleeping. It will leave you feeling relaxed and calm.
Okay, so there we are. These are your basic ingredients to get to work with, all of which promote relaxation and reduce stress (I’ve chosen these four as they go well together and allow you to be creative.
How to Cook Creatively
Try this part of the exercise if you’re confident about your cooking ability, otherwise proceed to the recipe below.
The idea here, again, is to truly be creative and use your instincts and your senses. Have all your ingredients laid out on the table, and (without following a recipe) get your nose stuck in, use your senses, and find fun and new ways of combining those ingredients to come up with a nice meal. This will help you make use of the aromatherapy (particularly of the fruits) as you’ll be forced to use your nose.
Now then, whilst you experts set the kitchen on fire let’s see if we can’t find a nice, simple recipe for our novice-chefs to have a crack at. ..
A simple recipe for relaxation and stress reduction
Fish with Citrus and Honey
Ingredients: Juice of 1 orange and 1 Lemon
1 Clove garlic peeled and finely chopped
1-2 tbsp honey
1tbsp vegetable oil
Dark soy sauce
Small bunch fresh corriander
4 white fish fillets, skin on
Seasoned plain flour for dusting
How to make your relaxing, stress reducing meal
- Put 1.5 cups of water for each 1 cup of brown rice in a pan and bring it to a boil. Then reduce to low temperature and leave cooking.
- While the rice is cooking, Bring the lemon juice, orange juice, garlic and honey to a boil in a small pan and allow it to bubble for a couple of minutes
- Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper, dust and season with the flour. Heat oil in a frying pan and cook the fish for a couple of minutes on each side till golden brown
- Season the sauce with ground black pepper and soy sauce, then stir in the coriander.
- Pour over the fish and serve.
- You’re done! (remember to wash-up mindfully, of course) enjoy your meal and your relaxed state of mind.
I hope you enjoyed this exercise (and the food!) and found it useful. If so, I’d love to hear how your meal turned out. Leave a comment below, join Arolemodel on facebook or twitter (use the icons at the top of the page) or by subscribing to the newsletter (via the form at the top right of the page).