You know those little cocktail napkins that have cute quotes on them? The other day, I bought some that say, “Let us celebrate with wine and sweet words.” I was really drawn to that sentiment, and the more I looked at it, the more I started thinking about the relationship between sweet words and our health.

People, myself included, have issues with the quick, convenient, crappy food that’s available to us wherever we go. Sweet foods can be particularly hard to resist. I’m not talking about savoring a cookie or two in a controlled, mindful way. I’m talking about robotically polishing off a whole box of cookies while you’re standing in your pantry.

The act of gorging on unhealthy food is usually tied to something else going on in our minds. I am not pretending to be a psychologist here, but hear me out! It’s possible that we turn to this kind of behavior when we don’t have a connection with other human beings in the way that we should. It happens when we’re missing something important from our lives, like hearing sweet words directed at us. Or, it’s when we’re missing the ability to say sweet words to ourselves. By eating and eating, we’re actually addressing an emotional need for human sweetness!

So what if we replaced sweet food with sweet words? What would happen? I can tell you this: It’s actually quite powerful. It really works. Sweet words are better for us than sweet foods, and in many cases kindness can be much better for us than medicine.

I know from talking to people that not everyone is at a point where they can be kind to themselves. So when I ask a person to write down five positive things about themselves and they can’t do it, I ask them to write down five positive things in their life. These are the things to focus on when you get an urge to smoke a cigarette, or go into the fridge or drink too much. Replace the negative thing with the positive things, and let them take center stage in your mind.

Say you can’t do that. What else can you do to counteract the urge to lose control?

What can you do to make yourself feel good and “full?”

Redirect your behavior. Step away and take ten minutes to write a note to someone, or work on a puzzle, or read a book. Identify a behavior that you’ll go to when that urge or that habit to act destructively rears its ugly head. By going to that behavior, you are empowering yourself. You’re doing something sweet and kind. Incredibly, when we live in a positive way, the emotional frenzy seems to dissipate. I can say that for myself. As a mom (and no stranger to bingeing on sweet foods late at night), I know what it’s like to address the needs of others all day long and feel an intense emotional responsibility toward my family. By 9 o’clock at night, I’d find myself standing in front of a shelf of food and suddenly diving into a sleeve of cookies. In that moment, I wanted to have control of SOMETHING. But the reality is that I had no control at all, and I was mad at myself when I woke up the next day.

Good habits can take years to manifest, and it takes many, many steps to strike a balance. For years, I’ve coached people in whole health and wellness. In the last year, I’ve expanded the idea of redirecting behavior and included the power of love and kindness through sweet words. As a result of focusing on the love and kindness piece, I’ve noticed that a major change has taken place in my life. I’ve struck a balance of my own. I feel lighter, more significant and more fulfilled, which to be honest was a completely unexpected side effect of concentrating on sweet words.

This is the experience I have had, and I want to share it with others. If you can learn to spend time focusing on goodness every day, and not on the things that make you feel powerless or angry or sad, you’re actually addressing your issues. Good things start to come back. You feel worthwhile. Slowly but surely, control returns to you.

You feel valued, loved, and most miraculously and importantly, want to give love.


Kim's Corner

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