4. Methods For Overcoming Negative Emotional Conditioning
We have seen how many poor diet habits are connected with emotional conditioning from childhood and in our adult lives. To change our eating habits and to adopt a better way of nutrition involves changes on an emotional level as well as changes in our daily activities.
Awareness is the most valuable method we can use in overcoming emotional associations with destructive foods such as sweets, fried foods, etc. If we are conscious of why we want a bowl of ice cream, we are in a better position to deal with that desire. By recognizing the impulse as arising from past emotional conditioning and not from a current real or physiological need, we are better able to change our habits.
Along with this awareness is a need for education about the foods we desire or avoid. If we understand how eating white sugar forces the body to utilize its own supply of vital nutrients for its metabolism, we are less likely to eat it. If we know the many health benefits of raw foods, we are in a position to learn to enjoy them for that sake. So we must first educate ourselves about proper nutrition and then develop an awareness about the foods we put into our bodies.
Another important method for overcoming emotional conditioning is the development of a positive self-image. Many people indulge in self-destructive eating habits out of a desire to punish themselves for “not being good enough.” If people see no worth in themselves, they will have a difficult time in wanting to improve their health through a change in diet. The desire for good health often indicates a developing positive self-image. Many people suffer from feelings of inadequacy or inferiority. They do not feel they deserve optimum health. What we need to realize is that radiant health and well-being is a birthright of all human beings. Each of us deserves to be totally healthy in mind, body and soul, and we must regain this birthright through proper nutrition and a positive emotional attitude.
Along these lines, the use of affirmations and meditation can be useful in developing the positive emotional environment we need for making these changes in our diet and in our lives. Affirming the qualities we wish to develop within ourselves is a powerful method for overcoming past emotional conditioning. For example, if we have weak willpower in resisting destructive foods, we can say to ourselves daily:
I am strong in will and restraint.
I eat only those foods good for me.
These statements are called affirmations. An affirmation is simply a positive statement we make about ourselves. By using these positive statements, you can affect many changes at the emotional and mental level.
You should devise the affirmations that are suitable for you at a particular stage in your life. It is important that you state the emotional qualities you desire in a positive manner. For instance, instead of saying, “I will not worry,” it is better to state: “I am calm, serene and centered.” It is also beneficial if these statements are phrased in the present tense, as if they are now occurring.
These affirmations may be written daily or they may be repeated silently or out loud. Casually they should become a part of your daily life for several weeks to work effectively.
Affirmations are not magical, nor are they simply “self-hypnosis.” They are an effective method for surrounding yourself with a positive environment and a healthy mental state in which to grow. They allow you to assume responsibility for your own emotional health, and they serve as a direct means of activating your latent powers. They are a form of a personally devised self-therapy that have only positive, nonharmful results.
Affirmations are the link between our conscious mind and our hidden emotions. As we consciously direct our energies toward a desired quality, we tend to attain that goal. If affirmations are used regularly and in good faith, we can rapidly outgrow those harmful emotional states that hinder our personal growth.
4.2 We Alone Are Responsible For Our Mental and Emotional Health
In 1865 Louis Pasteur made a discovery that is the basis of the “germ theory” of disease. This theory of disease suited modern man’s ego quite well. No longer did he have to blame himself for the sicknesses caused by his own transgressions of the natural laws of health, but he could instead blame the germs that invaded his body.
The germ theory effectively shifted man’s own personal responsibility for his health onto the shoulders of the medical profession who knew how to kill the offending germs. Consequently, man soon perceived his own personal health as something that was no longer in his hands.
This type of thinking asserts itself in other areas as well. If we feel mad or out of sorts with the world, it is always the fault of our parents, our spouse, our boss or the government. Somebody or something causes our emotional and mental problems. It surely isn’t us, we think.
This desire to blame the failure of interpersonal relationships, or even complete emotional and mental
breakdown, on “outside” factors such as hidden stress, poor home environment, etc., also allows us to shift the responsibility away from ourselves and to some other person or event. As a result, we seek outside help for these problems in the form of therapists, counselors, psychiatrists, etc.
The fact is, however, that a body that is properly cared for with good nutrition is able to withstand the major causes of emotional and mental illnesses, just as it is able to withstand the major causes of physical diseases.
If we assume responsibility for our own health and supply the body with the highest life-giving nutrition, we can also insure ourselves the peace of mind and stability of emotions that allow us to withstand stress and the other causes of mental and emotional illnesses. A properly nourished person can withstand factors that might provoke mental or emotional outbreaks in less-well-fed people.
In an article on marriage failures, Dr. Cecilia Rosenfeld stated: “One of the prime causes of marital discord—nutritional deficiency—is too often overlooked. In my own practice, I have found that, in a surprising number of broken marriages, spouses suffered from a blood-sugar imbalance. Many of those husbands and wives showed symptoms of irritability, violent temper, abnormal sensitivity and extreme fatigue. Corrective nutritional guidance dispelled these unpleasant symptoms for many spouses—and in the process, often bolstered their crumbling marriages.”
Along the same line, Dr. Joseph Nichols, president of the Natural Food Associates, wrote: “The unhappily married are often suffering from dietary deficiencies more than from the kind of social incompatabilities traditional therapists seek to explore.”
Blaming our problems on a demanding boss or argumentative spouse then is somewhat akin to ascribing all our physical problems to invisible germs. If we desire good mental and emotional health, we must work for it and assume full responsibility for this facet of our well-being as well. We must create the proper conditions for mental and emotional stability through proper diet and nutrition. This is where an optimum diet helps.
- 1. Introduction
- 2. How Foods Affect Mental And Emotional Health
- 3. Emotional Aspects Of Diet And Digestion
- 4. Methods For Overcoming Negative Emotional Conditioning
- 5. The Optimum Diet For Mental And Emotional Health
- 6. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: About Emotions And Health By Marti Fry
- Article #2: Fruitarianism For Health And Long Life By Dr. O.L.M. Abromowski
- Article #3: The Mind-Benders By Kecki R. Sidhwa, N.D., D.O.