When we think of food, our minds automatically conjure up thoughts of the tasty foods that we use to feed our body. But we are also nourished by more than just food. This “other” food is known as our primary food, because in a way, it is just as important as the food we eat. Primary food nourishes our minds, our souls, our hearts and our spirits. And when trying to live healthier lives, too often we only focus on the food that we eat. But we neglect the other things in our lives that nourish us.
So what are the “other” foods that we need to nourish in order for us to be healthy, happy and whole?
We are fed and nourished by positive relationships in our lives. Think back to a time when you were in a relationship that was new and exciting. The feeling of butterflies in your stomach when seeing your new flame. Hardly being able to eat or sleep. In that moment, you were being fed by that romantic relationship. Or remember having a great conversation with a close and trusted friend, only to discover that hours had passed in what seemed to be only minutes. In that moment, you were being fed by that friendship, and food was not important.
Positive, healthy relationships feed our souls and our spirits, and as humans we need good, strong relationships in our lives in order to thrive. It is those relationships that support us, lift us up and provide shelter from the storms of life. If your life is full of negative, unsupportive relationships, it only causes chaos, stress and uncertainty. Human beings need positive relationships in order to thrive.
What we choose to do for a living is important to our health. Think of a time that you worked on a task or project that you were really passionate about or inspired by. Time stood still, and before you knew it, hours had passed. If you currently work at a job that you absolutely love, it doesn’t feel like work at all! But if your job is tedious, boring, uninspiring and you find yourself filled with dread each time you have to go to work, then you are not being filled by the primary food of your career, which feeds the mind and spirit.
Our bodies were created to move! And that doesn’t necessarily mean having to trudge to the gym and hop on a treadmill every day. But think back to when you were a child….going outside to play in the backyard, riding bikes, dancing to music, just because you could. Even now, if you watch most children, they seem to have two speeds while awake: fast and faster. Children are constantly being told not to run in the house or in the store.
When awake, they seem to be in perpetual motion! As adults, our bodies crave movement as well. But often we have fallen into a sedentary pattern of sitting behind a desk at work. Then we come home and hold down the couch, watching television. Our bodies are longing for the type of activity that keeps our joints and cells fueled with oxygen so that they can stay healthy. Without movement and physical activity, are bodies are not fed in the way that they need.
Having some kind of a spiritual practice is important for mental and emotional health. And a spiritual focus can be very different for each person. Some people may find their spiritual practice through the practice of different faiths, be it Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism or the like. Some choose a spiritual practice that is based in yoga or meditation. Others may find their spirituality in communing with nature or through music. And yet others follow New Age spiritual practices. There is no “one size fits all” route to spirituality. But, research has proven again and again that those who do practice some form of spiritual practice on a regular basis are much healthier mentally and emotionally. We are all essentially spiritual beings and without that focus, you are not receiving the spiritual food.
When we lack primary foods
When we are lacking in primary foods, it leads to depression, anxiety, stress and low self-esteem. And often we attempt to compensate for that lack by filling ourselves with food in order to fill that hole in our lives. But no matter how much food we eat, we won’t be satisfied until we bring our primary foods into balance with our secondary foods…the foods we consume.
When we start focusing on receiving the primary foods that we need, it begins to nourish our spirits, our hearts and our souls. As a result, the need to fill that void with food decreases. The opposite is also true…the more food we eat, the less room we have for the primary foods in our lives.
What are the primary foods that you need to improve? And what steps can you take to improve them, so that you are living your best life?