I believe that thoughts are food. Not the kind of food you put in your mouth, naturally. But the kind of food and nourishment you put into your mind.
While mouth food is something you can chew and taste and swallow, mind food is what you think, and how you think it, every single day from moment to moment.
We feed our minds both when we are awake and when we are asleep. But (lucid dreaming aside) we don’t have much choice over our mind food when we are sleeping. When we are asleep, thoughts and images come and go on their own.
Dreams are messengers, pointing to doorways with keys that unlock the secrets of our unconscious self. You can learn a lot by thinking about your dreams when you are awake, exploring the characters and settings, interpreting the meanings. Dreams are mind food on two levels, conscious and unconscious. Their revelations can be deeply nourishing.
Sleep provides us with surprise mind food that arrives like a gift, without our say. During waking hours, on the other hand, we have a lot of say. If you pay attention, having control over your thoughts is truly an option when you are awake. When you are awake is when you can choose the taste and quality of your mind food.
Understand what mind food is: Everything you look at, see, read, hear and give your attention to. Feeding your mind with positive thoughts—about the universe, the world, your community, self and body—is proven to have a positive effect on your physical and emotional health. On the contrary, feeding your mind with negative thoughts is known to create unease, tension, dissatisfaction and despair.
This is why I frequently go on a News Fast. I enjoy reading the paper and listening to the radio, but seeing and hearing words like war, terror, bombings, killed, abuse, fighting, etc, does not put me into a calm and relaxed state. And there’s no way to avoid words like these when interacting with “the news.” (I put quotation marks around “the news” because many uplifting stories would be deemed newsworthy if we lived within a different societal paradigm that valued cooperation, discovery, peace, health. However, uplifting stories are few and far between within our current paradigm, with its emphasis on maintaining conflict, fear and violence.) So, because I am aware of how important mind food is, I frequently abstain from The News.
Taking a periodic news fast is a choice I make for my own personal well-being, a choice based on my experiential understanding that one’s thoughts create one’s state of mind, mood and general outlook.
When it comes to the care and feeding of your mind, it all comes down to choice: What you choose to think about, and how you talk to yourself about it.
Some of the most positive, healing thoughts with which to feed your mind are thoughts of wonder, appreciation and kindness. The natural world is a joy to behold, ever-changing, always surprising. Take a walk outside and you can’t help but to see something amazing! Once you see it, you can’t help but think about it. Hold that thought and you are walking in beauty.
Other healthy mind food fodder are thoughts of hope, trust, forgiveness and love. These thoughts have the power to modulate your breath and heart rate, alleviate depression and anxiety, calm digestive distress and even reverse disease, according to many (though not all) official and anecdotal reports.
Some of the best food you can offer your mind is positive self-talk. Positive self-talk involves the idea of being your own supportive coach. It means viewing your behavior, actions and commitment to goals generously, in a spirit of praise that encourages you to apply effort, energy and faith. No matter what you do, right or wrong, you can always be gentle with and love yourself through it with a positive, productive attitude.
Studies show that positive self-talk is a powerful tool. It can help people overcome addictions, such as smoking, and it can help people who have lost weight maintain their weight loss. So the next time you “slip up” and fall back into a compulsive habit, eat too much or veer off your healthy nutrition program, don’t beat yourself up about it! Instead, use the experience as a teaching tool. Dig deep to find out what caused the slip, and coach yourself through it like a loving parent or compassionate counselor.
Learning to understand yourself will help you make better choices in the future. So honor your process when you make healthy choices, and honor your process when you don’t. Ask for guidance from god and all the angels, and listen to their response.
There’s nowhere to go. You are here right now. Inhale. Breathe. Allow.
Freedom, peace and healing come.
Reyes NR, et al. Similarities and differences between weight loss maintainers and regainers: a qualitative analysis. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012 Apr;112(4):499-505.
Merchant G, et al. Coping with the urge to smoke: A real-time analysis. Res Nurs Health. 2013 Feb;36(1):3-15