Ripples #1157: The Comfort of Health
July 26, 2021
Good health is not something we can buy. However, it can be an extremely valuable savings account.
-Anne Wilson Schaef, shared by Mary in Wichita, KS
Instead of indulging in ‘comfort food,’ try indulging in comfort meditation, comfort journaling, comfort walking, comfort talking, comfort manicures, comfort reading, comfort yoga, comfort hugging.
-Karen Salmansohn (adapted slightly), shared by Isaac in Sedona, AZ
In the work of promoting healthy behaviors and mindsets, we often attempt to encourage smart daily choices by referencing long term benefits: You’ll live longer! You’ll age better! The problem with this strategy is that it doesn’t really work that well. There are many (many!) distractions and temptations that wear us down, making it less likely our daily choices will reflect our long term goals and values. Compounding this challenge is that once we get discouraged and make less healthy choices, most of us adopt an “all or nothing” mindset and then give up our healthier pursuits entirely.
One strategy I’ve found helpful is matching short term goals with short term rewards: pivot away from the “ugh” feeling you get when you think, “I know I’m supposed to exercise because it is good for me.” and turn towards the fact that most people feel energized during and/or after completing activities that fall in the moderate to vigorous range of exercise, or at the very least experience some feel good satisfaction that comes with checking off an important item on the to-do list.
And even though I’m the first to admit that sweets and treats initially sound yummier than spinach and kale, I’ve also explored enough food to know that there are decent food options that are good for my body and also classify as tasty.
The same is true for other aspects of health, like emotional wellbeing and spiritual growth. I don’t force myself to completely abstain from mental junk food (Candy Crush, you have a call on line one), but I do remind myself daily that books and podcasts are enjoyable to take in even while fueling my mind with uplifting and informative content.
I dare you to experiment this week with self-talk that gently reminds yourself of the short term rewards available to you immediately after engaging in “good for you” behaviors. Are you in?