Why Cooking Can Help Alleviate Driving Anxiety

The next time you’re riddled with driving anxiety or driving fears, grab an onion, grab a knife, and just start cooking. Cooking has been getting delicious attention as a way to help alleviate anxiety in general, and it can be applied to driving anxiety and driving fears in particular.

Cooking only works, of course, if you happen to be in or near a kitchen. But the bottom line is that it can definitely work. That’s because cooking comes with several benefits known to keep worry, anxiety and fears out of your head.


Whether you’re chopping onions or measuring out the red-hot pepper flakes, it’s imperative to pay attention to what you’re doing when you’re cooking. Being acutely aware of your surroundings and your place in them is the very core of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the state of being totally present, which is the polar opposite of anxiety. Driving fears and driving anxiety are typically based on something that may or may not happen down the line, pulling your mind into a future state of worry. The only reason you need to worry while cooking is if you stop paying attention to the onion knife.


Similar to mindfulness, flow refers to being wholly absorbed and engaged in an activity to the point where that’s the one and only thing on your mind. You may already regularly experience flow when you’re painting, sculpting, making music, woodworking or engaging in other activities that capture your full attention. When you’re busy in the flow of cooking, you’re automatically breaking out of the pattern of worry.


While following a recipe may be the most straightforward way to cook, there’s always room for a little improvisational creativity. Adjusting the spices to suit your taste, substituting one ingredient for another, or using up the asparagus in the fridge as part of your quiche Lorraine are all solid examples.

You can also get creative with place settings or the meal presentation. No matter how you flex your creative muscles during the cooking process, the sense of accomplishment you’ll experience when you’re done can provide a boost for self-esteem.


As if all the mindfulness, flow and creativity aren’t reward enough, cooking comes with yet one more bonus. You get a completed meal to eat at the end. While having a delicious meal to eat is an even greater bonus, you still get all the benefits even if the final results are a tad less than perfect.

Cooking isn’t the only activity that can get you out of your head and fully into the moment, either. The same concepts apply to mindful walking, yoga, weight lifting, reading, writing – or basically any activity that invites you to pay attention, get into the groove of what you’re doing and use your creative brain. Remember that the next time the driving anxiety wheel starts turning in your head – or when you’re grumbling because it’s your turn to make dinner.