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Why cooking is such a good mindful activity

Spending time in the kitchen – and enjoying the delicious results – is a great way to clear your mind of any noise causing stress or anxiety and focus on being in the moment, according to one marketer and entrepreneur.

Speaking to Wellness Daily, Trilogy Funds senior marketing officer and founder of the Charlie Cheesecaker blog Drew Hipwood said that when he is cooking, he feels as if “everything else in the world disappears” and what’s on the stove is the only thing that matters in that moment.

It’s “kind of like a forced mindfulness exercise”, he explained.

“That mindfulness exercise helps me disconnect with any stress current or upcoming and focus my thoughts on achieving something delicious, healthy and productive. For example, when you’re kneading bread, you’re placing all of your awareness and body into stimulating the gluten in the dough,” he said.

“There’s no opportunity to think about a deadline looming or a performance target that may seem a million miles away.”

Mr Hipwood said he finds cooking and baking to be such beneficial activities because he can reconnect with what he is choosing to put into his body.

“Further to that, after a long hard day, it provides a feeling of being back in control of an outcome that you know is going to be great if you follow a few simple steps.”

But there is also a deeper, personal connection to cooking. He discovered it as a young kid with his mum, he reflected, noting it was a “really nice way for us to spend some quality one on one time together”.

“My interest sharpened when I was about 20 and started cooking for friends and the special people in my life. I loved seeing them enjoy the food as much as I enjoyed making it.”

And such benefits can be gleaned by everyone, he added. Those looking to “gain a stronger hold on their health and wellbeing” can do so by spending more time in the kitchen, Mr Hipwood argued, as it offers an outlet for mindfulness that one may not have contemplated before.

What is required, he posited, is for one to consider their purpose in the kitchen.

“You could be there to eat healthier or eat more of the right foods, save money, to entertain, or to simply escape. Once you have your purpose, throw yourself into the exercise and remind yourself why you’re there,” he said.

“Doing so will provide a greater sense of satisfaction, stronger dedication to your goal and a drive to experiment and try new things.”

There are many working professionals, however, who – by virtue of the nature of their jobs – either don’t have the time for intricate cooking and baking, or at least feel like they don’t have such time.

If you are someone who struggles to find the time to cook and bake, you have to make time for it, Mr Hipwood said. It’s “all about being organised and finding a system that works”.

“Don’t go to the shops or the markets without a list. Don’t make your list without first planning out what you’d like to cook. Each week, I think about what my partner and I would like to be eating throughout the next week, and I start writing the recipe and a shopping list that works with our budget,” he recounted.

“We then have a Saturday morning ritual where we go to the markets for breakfast, buy a bunch of flowers and then visit our favourite vendors to buy the fresh produce and meat we need. Anything else is picked up from Aldi on the way home. Every Sunday afternoon is also dedicated to cooking and photography for [my blog].”

By having this kind of plan in place, you can save yourself some time, get into rituals that work and also provide the opportunity to have a good think about the fuel being put into your body, he concluded.

Drew Hipwood is the founder of Charlie Cheesecaker.

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain