Metaphoric Diet for Maximizing Well-Being

Metaphoric Diet for Maximizing Well-Being
By Ben Gaibel, LCSW


3 questions for you to contemplate (and I am not just talking about the food we eat): What nourishes you? What is your junk food? What are you starving yourself of?

I was guided through these 3 questions at a stress reduction workshop I took a number of years ago, and found this contemplation to be immensely helpful.  These are three important questions you can ask yourself that will help bring attention to the choices you make and the impact your choices have on your well-being – positive or negative.  These questions are metaphors which refer to your habits and how you spend your precious time.   Take some time to contemplate each of these questions:

  • What nourishes you?

In addition to eating healthy and wholesome food, what activities nourishes your sense of well-being?  Examples include physical exercise, hiking, time with a pet, spending time with friends, reading an inspirational book, meditation, connecting with a spiritual community, playing a musical instrument, etc.  What is it that helps you feel alive and well?

  • What is your junk food?

This is referring to things you take part in that give you instant immediate relief of some kind, but have long term negative effects.  Are there any habits that might be addicting but are taking away from your quality of life?  Examples include binge watching television, obsessively checking email, overconsumption of the news or social media,  buying things you don’t need, etc.

  • What are you starving yourself of?

What are some things that are in fact nourishing to you, but for some reason you are not doing?  For example, I love playing the guitar, but for some reason I stopped playing for a couple of years.  I recently picked it up again and am really glad to have it back in my life!

These questions are not meant for you to give yourself a hard time.  The intention of this contemplation is to bring awareness to the choices we make, and adjust accordingly to improve our well-being.  Are there any habits that are like junk food which you can cut back on?  And what nourishing activities are you starving yourself of, and can bring more of into your life?  To quote Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

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