I remember thinking as a child that all adults must eat healthfully because they were constantly monitoring what I was eating. However, now that I am fully into adulthood, I realize many adults have the same problem that children have with their eating: THEY FILL UP WITH JUNK FOOD ON THE RUN! I live on protein bars. I use them for meal replacements for quick meals on the go for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Is it healthy? Of course not, but as my mother once told me, “Once you are over the age of 45, you stop wanting to cook a lot because you will have so many other things to do with your time.” The truth is, I do not eat a lot of junk food, but I do eat the same boring things over and over, and most of the time my diet is boring because I am too tired to whip up something healthy. In the same way that we need to have healthy food in our diet, we need to give ourselves the things we need to be emotionally healthy. What is emotional health? It is the ability to process the daily emotions that come our way in manners that do not adversely affect us or others physically, relationally, spiritually, etc. Our emotional reactions to people and self tell us that we need to ingest something other than what we are eating. My personal belief is that all people have inborn needs that must be fed regularly in order to remain healthy.
Here is a list of 8 emotional foods we need to eat to remain healthy;
1. A Need for Love – We were designed to be in community and we need to be heard, validated, hugged and basically have connections with people that bring us a sense of belonging.
2. A Need to Create – We were designed by the great Creator and we need to operate in our creativity to feel more energized. Be it art, music, cooking, writing, decorating or gardening, you have been designed to create because you have been made in His image. For some people this means creating order, structure or even cleaning, but somewhere in your life you like to create.
3. A Need for Beauty – Visual stimulation via color, style, beauty, the outdoors, etc. The way that colors and patterns helps to develop the infant’s brain is the same way in which we need continual exposure to visual stimulation. We need beauty because God has created our brain to be stimulated by it in ways that create positive or negative emotions.
4. A Need for Joy – Having a good laugh is food for the soul. We need to seek the people or things that make us laugh.
5. A Need for Peace – Being quiet, being alone, and doing things that bring peace to your body soul and spirit. Silence and lack of stimulation allow our brain to be creative and figure out problems. Scientifically, it has been proven that people are the most creative in silence and silence is where we are most likely to hear the peaceful whisper of God.
6. A Need for Passion – Excitement brings forth motivation and vision for our lives. New experiences, new knowledge, and healthy sexuality bring this forth.
7. A Need to Feel Safe and Secure – who are you allowing to fill your time? People need to feel safe in order to reduce depressive or anxious symptoms and make good decisions. When there is an absence of this in our lives we tend to make self-sabotaging decisions.
8. A Need to Make an Impact on Others and Our World – operating out of our spiritual gifting and purpose for which we have been created brings forth life. I have watch many a person spark to life as we sit in therapy discussing how they can fulfill their purpose for themselves and how that will impact others positively. When people are not making an impact they tend to have more self-hate and depression.
What do you need to take into your emotional health on a more regular basis? The above list can be your nutritional plan for healthy emotional intake