Many of us have been given or chosen food as a reward for good behavior, a job well done, a long day, etc. The media and advertising also helps us with reward conditioning. “You deserve a break today” was the slogan for a leading fast food chain. The commercial showed a woman with two children, her hair standing up, a frustrated look on her face and obviously overwhelmed. The commercial touched on the emotions of all who watched it but it did not promote healthy outlets—it promoted easy and even worse unhealthy eating practices. What happens with the person that has a rough day and wants to be healthy? The person who wants to be healthy rewards themselves by treating the body with care and respect. This individual has re-conditioned his or her reward system to include healthy eating, responses to life events and yes—even a tough day. Reward yourself with long term good health and you may also teach the children in your life to respond the same way. You will be healthier, happier, and impact future generations. Way to go!
I Deserve It!
The “I deserve it’ thought process usually stems from two directions. The first example I will use is when we feel as though we have done something good and “deserve” to reward ourselves with “a treat.” Many of us have been conditioned to do this through sports, home or school activities as a youth when we have won a game or worked hard to achieve some level of success. The way that many of our brains work is that we get “locked into” telling ourselves that unhealthy food is a good reward. When we have had a good accomplishment in our day, gone through a tough exercise session, or worked extra hours it is very common for some of us to reward ourselves with unhealthy practices such as food.
The other “I deserve it” is created when we have not had such a great day or feel as though we have not been recognized properly, feel overwhelmed by events of the day, or feel as though we have been “done wrong” in some way in our lives. Having stress, anxiety, and sadness during our day will lead to the “I deserve it” response because of our automatic (brain locked in) way of coping with discomforting situations in our lives. The advertising geniuses at companies that promote unhealthy eating practices play on our emotions to billion dollar profits for them and poor health for many of us.
What You Truly Deserve
Everyone that I know works hard and are generally good people. They devote their lives to career and families and often neglect personal health and self-care. The “I deserve it” that you do actually deserve is a healthy life. You deserve to spend your hard earned money on vacations and things that you can enjoy with long term good health practices. You deserve to play with your grandchildren, to walk normally and without pain, and the happiness that good health brings. Your family and those who love you also deserve someone who cares for their health and does not cause extra work or burden prematurely. Begin to create the life and health you deserve as soon as possible. Begin to be your own miracle!