Food as Anxiety Relief

December 30, 2020 TJ DeSalvo

The holidays had me thinking about food and anxiety more than usual. My family, like (I’m sure) most others, tends to make the same foods year after year, and honestly, it’s one of the things about the holidays I look the most forward to, and I’m guessing many of you feel the same way. I’m going to use that as a jumping-off point for this blog post because I think there’s something to be said about how food can help someone with their anxiety.

Comfort Food and Anxiety

Everyone knows about the idea of comfort food – anything you eat that offers any kind of anxiety alleviation. What counts as comfort food is incredibly personal and will vary from person to person.

What comfort food does – at least for me – brings me back to a state of mind connected with happy memories of the past. I think of childhood, I think of all the times I’ve had that food going back years and years. Basically, it’s nostalgia connected to the sense of taste.

I’ve noticed that, when compared to nostalgia triggered by other stimuli (for instance, watching a favorite movie), the feelings associated with comfort food tend to be stronger, if only (at least, to me) because they are more immediate. The sensation of taste is instantaneous. For that reason, learning to channel and control those sensations can be useful if you want to put your mind in a better place.

Why You Should Learn to Cook Food to Help with Anxiety

Comfort food, for most people, is connected to things your family made, or perhaps things you got at restaurants when you went out with your family. Either way, when you were that young, you probably didn’t have the capabilities of making any of that stuff on your own.

Once you get older, those limitations don’t exist anymore. If you want comfort food, by all means, you should make it – and if you don’t know how, you should learn.

Cooking, in its own way, is a form of freedom. Once you know how to cook, if you want to eat something, you can just do it. Even if you don’t know all that much about it, take it from me, it isn’t that difficult. I wouldn’t call myself an expert by any means, but I know how to follow a recipe and can make more or less any basic thing I can find.

I really like being able to cook. If I need some comfort food for my anxiety, I can make it whenever I feel like it. Experimenting with new recipes has lead me to find new favorites I would’ve never thought of before, and even some of those recipes have become modern comfort foods for me. Cooking both reconnects me with my past and opens countless doors to the future – for those reasons alone it’s worth pursuing.

How do you use food for your anxiety? Share your thoughts in the comments.

APA Reference
DeSalvo, T. (2020, December 30). Food as Anxiety Relief, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: TJ DeSalvo

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