Mind Expanding Without Drugs

English: magazine vogue Español: logo de la re...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I want to lose some weight. Not a lot–but fifteen pounds would make me happy.I want to lose some stress (not all of it because there is good stress that motivates you—I do not want to lose this kind of stress).  I read some encouraging words from Gretchen Rubin today and I think her suggestion that we find comfort food for the mind is the answer to my problems.

First it does not involve eating fatty, sugary, salty food—and that is a good thing.

Second, by comforting our mind, we are finding ways to cope. My comfort food for my mind comes first and foremost from reading. Yesterday I bought the huge tome called Vogue magazine. The September issue is 902 pages. I could not resist. I have not purchased a fashion magazine for ages. And ages. In fact if truth be told, I have kind of given up on fashion.

The magazine is the perfect eye candy. Some people take fashion very seriously. I do not. At one time I may have taken it a bit more seriously than I do now, but that was many lives ago. My fashion sense went the way of the Edsel when I had kids. It just was not important anymore. And I didn’t have the time to don a scarf, find the right jewellery, or even match (or unmatch depending on the fashion season) my outfit to my shoes and to my purse.  I am not sure where we stand on the “match” issue anymore, but I am sure once I finish 902 pages of fashion I will be in the know.

Here is Gretchen’s advice about what works for her (and what doesn’t work for her but may for you):

“…. look for ways to pull your mind away from your worries onto positive topics. One great way is to watch a movie – preferably something funny! — or watch a favourite TV show.

My favourite activity is reading, and when I really need “comfort food” for my mind, I read children’s literature (the more stressed out I am, the younger I go; Oz books are a danger sign). I always re-read, too; when I’m upset, I want the comfort of knowing that I’ll love the book and that I won’t be upset by some unexpected plot twist.

I do find that some activities that are usually happiness-inducing don’t work very well when I’m preoccupied with bad thoughts. Listening to music, for example, is an extremely effective way to boost mood, but I find it too easy to start thinking about my worries when I’m listening – others might not have this problem. Similarly, although going for a walk usually cheers me up, it also gives me an excellent opportunity to brood if I’m inclined that way.”

Comfort Food

Comfort Food (Photo credit: tim ellis)

Reading is my number one go-to for comforting my mind. Unfortunately so is eating, but I am trying to deal with that.

What is your favourite comfort food for your mind?

Published in: on August 29, 2013 at 3:09 pm  Comments (30)  
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30 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love playing about with computer,, and food is a nice crusty whole meal bread sandwich,,,, or malted milk biscuits and tea…

  2. I also enjoy reading for a getaway or calling and talking to a friend. Even if I don’t go over what is bothering me, they make me feel better. Exercise helps too, but I’m not so good at making myself do it.

    • sometimes talking to a friend or my sister helps me too–especially if I do not talk about what is bothering me because then it is a good break and you are reminded that there are so many things to be grateful for

  3. I love to watch my favorite tv show, “The Newsroom” ……the show is so good, I am completely transfixed for an hour. It relaxes me and because it is so well written and smart, I come away feeling I have learned something.

    • We got it from the library–the first season but did not get around to watching it–I will ask for it again because I love the premise

  4. I definitely escape into books…and can only watch tv if I’m needlepointing or knitting (two activities that are verboten with a puppy). And when I want to wonder at what made me fall in love with books, I’ll pick up “The Wind In The Willows”, “Charlotte’s Web”, “My Friend Flicka” – and I’m transported. As for Vogue – I bought it too – though I haven’t finished rifling through it yet – I have to negotiate picking it up!

    • Vogue is immense–the ads take up most of it but I do not mind–they are artistic and even if sometimes you are not sure what they are advertising it does not really matter
      I have a collection of children’s books that my kids will not get until I leave this world = I have one called Old Turtle that I particularly like–it is simple and wise and life affirming

  5. Mmmm baking is my definite comfort food for the mind (and stomach) – that and reading 🙂
    Great post!

    Choc Chip Uru

    • I can see why baking would be your comfort food for the mind and the soul and the taste buds! You are so accomplished for one so young

  6. I’m totally with you on this one. My number one comfort food for the mind is reading, and this summer I have been totally addicted to reading and very content as a result. There is nothing that keeps me more grounded or gives me more pleasure :). It has been a very relaxing summer!

    • that is wonderful-I have been reading a lot of fiction this summer which has been a great way to get lost in the lives of others who inevitably have problems, but the problems generally get solved

  7. Sitting in front of some kind of water…river, ocean, lake I find immense comfort and well-being.. If I’m in a worry mode… listening to music unfortunately lets my mind wander back to problems…. and will often bring tears… Reading while I would love to do so… if I’m in worry mode.. I can’t concentrate…. (Wish I had more ‘water’ around)…Diane

    • I live a couple of blocks from Lake Erie so am fortunate to be able to call on it often if need be–and I too find water calming and comforting–serenity comes to mind
      Music can evoke emotions and sometimes if they are too close to the surface they do bring tears
      I am fortunate in that I can get lost in books–my problem is feeling guilty reading when I should be doing other work

  8. Reading is good. For me, writing keeps me more focused on the thoughts that I choose to ponder about. Music is also a good alternative. Playing an instrument myself also keeps my mind from drifting. I love the guitar a lot and it’s tunes can create a whole new world in my mind.
    Lovely post!

    • I so wish I could play an instrument, so lacking that I sometimes play loud rock and roll to keep my mind off things–not lovely melodies because I then have a chance to think
      Writing is also one of my favourite ways to focus

  9. I read to escape from thinking. Lately, Ive started re-reading a series of books that Id read through a few years ago when I was in hospital, and am enjoying them all over again. Though weirdly, with the whole sense memory thing – I can smell the hospital all over again. That part Im not enjoying, but the books are still a great escape,

    • books do bring back memories when we reread them–time and place and even smell as you are experiencing–what series is it?

  10. Great post. I like the premise of comfort food for the mind. Mine would be really great guitar music.Thank you for sharing this Lou.

    I relate so much of life through certain music, taking me back instantly to a happy time. John Fahey and the birth of my youngest daughter for instance.
    Add journal writing-free writing that lets me put all my stress in one place for keeps to my mix, and I have a full menu,

    • I like your recipe for comfort food for the mind–music and writing–a great combo

      • Thanks for the realization for me that is what it is.

  11. I have always loved reading and getting lost in other worlds. Like you, I find walking frees my mind which then goes off on its own worry path. These days I also love chatting to my blogging buddies . I’m also trying to lose some pounds! 6 of the 15 have gone but now we are visiting our son and his wife in Barcelona so the loss is probably on hold for a week. Good luck from one trier to another! 🙂

    • I am trying to get rid of the dreadful 15 too–we should keep each other updated–forget about it on your vacation though

  12. One thing I am learning to do is feel pain more fully. That may sound the opposite of comfort, but it’s really starting to come clearer that when I run off to be comforted (computer, food, whatever) it’s often because I’m stressed and don’t want to feel pain. By feeling the pain–without a story (because when we tell stories we’re in for eternal suffering)–something seems to be easing.

    The more I can sit with pain when it arises, day after day, whether it’s restlessness or sadness or annoyance, the less I run away. This has been life changing.

    • I know what you mean–I lived in denial over a specific situation for quite a while, but it had to be dealt with and I am in the middle of that right now. Though it is unpleasant and uncomfortable, it is starting to dissipate.
      I do agree that by making it into a story, the pain is prolonged though

  13. Comfort food for the mind… great concept. Reading would definitely be one; spending time in nature walking, hiking, listening to waves crash onshore comes to mind as does spending quality time with people who feed my soul rather than feeding on it.

    Enjoy your magazine! Until fairly recently, I had also abandoned any interest in fashion but I have discovered that liking how I look really boosts my confidence so I’ve started having fun with it. I think the trick is figuring out what works for you, what makes you happy, not just copying the latest looks. Magazines and fashion blogs can be a lot of fun and a source of new ideas. I would highly recommend http://www.over50feeling40.com/. Pam is one of my favourite bloggers. In addition to fashion advice, she has a lot of wisdom for women of our generation.

    • people who feed your soul rather than feed on it–so important–we have to be careful to do this because there are so many who can take so much from us

      I have always liked fashion–never been truly serious about it, but like you if I feel like I look good, I feel better

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