Nourish your vitality, mind, and emotions when you eat. Not everything you are tempted to put into your mouth is nutritious. Most processed, treated, and refined foods lack nutritional value. The chemicals and preservatives disrupt communication in your mind-body-spirit system. Processed foods are high in salt, sugar, and unhealthy fat. In other words, they offer a lot of what you don’t need and very little of what you do.
Since these foods are typically void of nutrition, we eat them to fill other needs. Their consumption is often rooted in cravings, which may be for a certain taste, emotional comfort or because we are thirsty. Do you acknowledge these alternative reasons for eating? Observe yourself and your diet to identify any patterns.
- Do you eat when you are happy? Sad? Bored? Lonely?
- Do you crave sugar? Salt? Spices?
- Are you confusing thirst with hunger?
Pinpointing these patterns help you to develop strategies for coping with them. In turn, these strategies are your guides to a lifetime of good health and feeding your body with intention and nutrition.
There are five types of taste. Sweet, sour, salty, astringent, and bitter. At different times, the body will seek them all out. Many people are familiar with the desire for something sweet after a meal or a salty snack in the afternoon. These cravings are based on taste, not nutrition.
Scientists have proven that on an average, cravings last approximately fifteen minutes. Even though you feel as if you won’t last another second without a cookie, it simply isn’t true. If you can occupy your mind with deep breathing or another activity until the craving passes, you will survive.
The Ayurvedic lifestyle also offers a strategy to deal with taste-based cravings. According to these ancient teachings, the best way to solve the problem of eating for taste is to nourish all of these sensations in every meal. Look for natural sources of each taste and combine them to satisfy your food cravings before they begin. Your meals could include a variety of foods from each taste group. This includes sweet fruit, astringent herbs, sour yogurt, salty cheese, and bitter spinach. This may require that you begin to see foods differently, but that is an inevitable byproduct of feeding your body with intention. Food becomes fuel, not an answer to a craving.
The human body is 70% water. Good health requires that you remain hydrated. Most people don’t drink enough water and when this occurs, the body sends you a signal. Often this signal is misinterpreted as hunger. So before you hit the food, drink a glass of water. This may be just what your body needs. And giving your body what it needs is the basis for proper nutrition.
Some cravings are emotionally based. Throughout your life, you may have associated food with a number of situations, which, in turn, became automatic responses. If as a child, you were treated to a bowl of ice cream when you were sad, chances are as an adult you will repeat this pattern to nourish your self. The ice cream made you feel better then, so you assume it will make you feel better now. It often does for a little while. However, in the end, you are still left with an unresolved situation or emotion. The only thing you fed was your sweet tooth, and as we all know what it wants is hardly ever nutritious.
Our world is a highly stressful one and many people turn to food as an escape. Like the emotional eating described above, eating to release stress is only a temporary fix. It does not offer you valid emotional or nutritional value. Instead of reaching for the chips, reach for a pad and pencil. Help yourself learn to deal with your emotions by making a list under the heading Emotions I Would Feel If I Allowed Myself To Do So. Write down any emotion, positive or negative, that you feel you are holding back. Your list could include anger, joy, guilt, sadness or love. When you eat out of stress or for comfort, you are using food to stuff these emotions back inside.
Now go down your list and allow yourself to really feel each emotion. Use deep belly breathing to help yourself focus and center. This process teaches that these emotions are a part of you with a need to be expressed. You owe it to yourself and your health to freely express your emotions without fear or shame. Once you accomplish this, you may find that open communication is more satisfying than cookies, cake or any other foodstuff you would have previously reached for.
Have you noticed how life has a unique sense of humor about the topic of happiness. Why else would happiness be something that almost everyone wants and covets, yet only a few ever realize in their lifetimes?
Happiness is a mental and emotional state characterized by feelings of well being and contentment.
In human evolution, the mechanisms that alert us to danger, the motivation to survive and reproduce are how we think of the humans who preceded our lives and time. Today we are still attuned to danger and sensitive to negativity, and much of our attention is not focused on fun or pleasure that reward the brain’s pleasure centers. To be happier, we have to intentionally focus on being happy and shifting into that emotional feeling. Would you be willing to ignite your brain’s reward center through happy feelings and train your brain? That question is food for thought.
Another similar joke that life plays on all of us is that happiness is often achieved by those who stop looking for that good feeling. This may seem counterintuitive at first. Yet when you read the common beliefs shared people who are happy, you’ll understand how those who don’t seek happiness are the most likely to find it!
Strategies For More Happiness
An Attitude of Appreciation is needed when we take certain parts of life for granted. We might take our basic foundations like our homes, educations, or foods for granted. Perhaps our lifestyles seem so normal to us that we forget the freedom our lifestyles provide.
People who are happy, seem to be content and appreciate of whatever they have.
While our ancestors’ aggression and alert instincts helped them survive, the positive emotions like feeling satisfied, happy, or content support our larger connection to members of our family, friends and communities. Perhaps one way to gauge your level of happiness is to cultivate a mindset and appreciation for happiness.
- The mindset in which you take nothing for granted will usually require no more than a shift in attitude. You won’t have to change anything about your external circumstances.
- To remind yourself to be appreciative, make it a point to reflect on everything that you’re thankful for once a day. Doing this as you fall asleep each night helps to brush your cares away as you fall into restful slumber, preparing the way for a great day tomorrow.
Be realistic about achieving goals. Expecting success overnight, unless you have just won the lottery, is a sure recipe for disappointment. Happy people are realistic and pragmatic when it comes to setting and achieving their goals.
- You can understand exactly how much time and effort may be required to achieve a goal, and if you fall short, you then put in the necessary additional work required to succeed
- People who are always happy also know that life offers no guarantees. As you put in additional time and necessary work to complete a task or goals, , remind yourself that the journey is enjoyable. Enjoying the journey practically predicts that you will be amazed with happiness as you work on the tasks. The completion or achievement means even more to you now.
- This may sound pessimistic, however, this is merely to state that they are aware of the possibility that external factors outside of their control could easily change outcomes. Being aware of this can help lessen the blow when unforeseen circumstances arise.
Put others first. Achieving happiness can sometimes be the opposite of what you might think. You may be wondering how you can bring yourself closer towards achieving happiness if you put others first. Putting others first is a normal trait for persons with Adaptive Supporter temperaments. Temperament traits such as creating, achieving, supporting, or problem solving are characteristic of each of the four temperament styles. Thus, if you are not of the temperament to put others first, then know that your ability to be happy is that you follow your inner motivation toward your goals.
- Putting other people first automatically requires you to have a more humble and appreciative outlook on life. In addition to this, making others happy will invariably bring more happiness into your own life.
If you take some time to begin integrating the above approaches into your daily living, you’ll find that happiness has always been just around the corner – waiting for you to discover it.
Why Happiness Is Elusive to Some People
Most Disney movies and young children’s storybooks end with “happily ever after.” If only real life mimicked the story book endings, but it does not. The busier and more complicated life has become over the last century, happiness seems more tangible, but also still elusive. Parents are not always the happiest when their children are toddlers or teens, the ages when kids need and needle their parents the most. Certainly more income or less income or earning ability defines happiness, but researchers have shown that this does not hold any weight. The point here is that most people have imagined happiness based on getting married, having more money, finding the ideal partner, and so forth. The imagined happiness scenarios are just like the Disney movies–fantasy!
The truths about happiness from solid research sources shows that good, lasting relationships make people happy. The connection with those you love prove that feeling safe, appreciated, and treated with respect are factors in why relationships support happiness. Experiences with others you enjoy create happy memories
Focusing your energy on making those experiences happen will also make you happy. So what about money, and great vacations, or a brand new wardrobe? Won’t those “things” make you happy? The answer is perhaps fleetingly. The focus of true happiness is still about…
- Investing in the relationships that make you happy.
- Spending money on experiences that make the relationship better.
- Investing yourself fully in the relationship experiences.
You can practice these steps and find yourself growing in happiness. You can cultivate experiences to make others happy or just set and achieve the goals that make you happy. The key is to recognize the moments of happiness and then create them again.