You know, pigs get a bad wrap! Curious at heart and thought by many to be among the smartest of animals on the planet, pigs are actually very much into cleanliness. If you’ve ever spent time with pigs, you know that they can be very affectionate. And, contrary to popular belief, they are actually unable to sweat and actually have a lot to teach us about how to mindfully relishing each bite of food that we eat. And yet, these amazing beings are often accused of horrific acts that are simply not based in reality. Given what I have learned about pigs (and I want to learn a whole lot more!), they may be our future wisdom gurus!
Along these lines, as a psychologist and author, I have stumbled onto discovering more reasons to live like a pig. In fact, pigs may offer us an unexpected pathway to greater happiness.
Since the release of my book this past fall, I have been doing a lot of traveling and speaking about a very popular topic—“Emotional Eating,” one of our culture’s most socially-sanctioned weapons of shame.
We have become really good at paradoxically enticing ourselves and each other with food, associating it with love and joy and all that is good, while at the same time communicating countless messages of fear about what will happen if we take in too much of that which we have grown to learn can make us feel so good inside and connected with others.
The funny (or not-so-funny) thing is that every person on the planet is actually an “emotional eater.” If Pavlov’s dogs salivate to a little bell that they learned was associated with food, just imagine how many associations with food we develop over a lifetime. I want to encourage everyone to stop trying to banish emotional eating. This notion is not only unrealistic, but it is actually inhumane as well.
This being said, we can all agree that there are times when our emotional eating goes a bit off the deep end and causes our problems. Really, one of the biggest causes for this slippery slope is the over-reliance on food for pleasure. The solution to this problem is really quite simple—we need to learn to INDULGE MORE in the multitude of other pleasures that life has to offer!
In addition to what I call “pleasure-deprivation” (or “distortion”), there are other emotional factors that also contribute to emotional eating when we get down to the root cause.
I would say that two of the greatest underlying causes of the discomfort that fuels emotional eating are the natural need and longing for connection through inclusivity, and a need for a boost in the mindset of gratitude.
I’m crazy-passionate about the importance of inclusivity; there’s a reason why exclusion is the most common and damaging form of bullying. We all need to know that we matter and to let others know that they matter too. We communicate “mattering” through our inclusive and generous actions. It’s really easy to do, once we clarify our intention to do so.
Of course, the mindset of gratitude is fast becoming a well-known essential ingredient to happiness, without dispute. What many don’t realize, though, is that gratitude has the power to counter the entitlement and victim mentality as well! In my work as a psychologist, I’ve discovered that when we are in gratitude, it is literally impossible to feel like a victim at the same time. I love that! We might be able to bounce back and forth between the two, but simultaneously, it just doesn’t work. Try it sometime and you’ll see what I mean.
In a nutshell, Pleasure, Inclusivity & Gratitude (PIG) are critical ingredients for Happiness. Yes, our beautiful bovine has again shown its curly tail of insight.
So, instead of continuing to collude with a culture that has become lost in fast-food, technology and habit-driven mindless living practices, we can all choose to PIG-Out and indulge more in the simplest of pleasures and kind living practices, choosing to live in a way that celebrates connection, pleasure and joy through mindful and appreciative living.”
I’m in, are you?
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