Mental Nutrition and Toxins
by Ron Kurtus (revised 6 June 2009)
Just as the body needs good nutrition to sustain its health, so too does the mind need good mental nutrition for its health. This nutrition consists of positive thoughts and feedback from others. Negative thoughts and criticisms from others can be toxic or poisonous and harmful to your mental health.
Questions you may include:
- What is the parallel between the body and the mind?
- How is self-talk feeding your mind?
- What can the input of others do for you?
This lesson will answer those questions. Health Disclaimer
Parallel between physical and mental
There is a direct parallel between physical and mental nutrition.
Your body needs food and nutrients to function properly.
If you don't eat enough, you can be more susceptible to disease. Nutrients allow the body to grow, heal wounds and be healthy.
If you ingest poisonous foods, you may become ill or even die. Also, outside agents, such as bacteria and viruses can spread toxins in your body.
Your brain is the connection between the body and the mind. Since the brain is part of the body, your ability to think is related to the nutrition your body takes in. Your brain controls your mind.
Your mind needs information to function and be able to evaluate and make decisions.
Sensory deprivation makes the mind more susceptible to mental disease. The mind need nutritious information to grow, heal mental wounds and be healthy.
Providing yourself with negative information about your abilities and what you do is like taking poison for the mind. But also, outside agents--other people--can criticize and ridicule you, providing your mind with toxic information, thus harming your mental state.
What you say to yourself can be mental nutrition or poisonous to your mental health.
If you praise yourself and are pleased with your performance, your mental health improves or stays at a high level. You can evaluate your talent, achievements and even looks with a positive spin. That doesn't mean you should be dishonest or unrealistic about things. If you fail in task, you can evaluate what you did wrong and where you need improvement and then tell yourself that you can do better.
Self-criticism, especially calling yourself stupid, ugly, or incompetent is providing your mind with negative and toxic thoughts. Soon you can become depressed, angry, fearful or have some other mental or emotional illness.
Feedback from others
The way others react or respond to you and what you do is ingested.
Praise and recognition from others makes you feel good. Young children especially need extra nutrition for their growing bodies, as well as extra nutrition for their growing minds.
When others criticize you, insult you, or ridicule you, it is poison to your psyche and toxic to your mental health. Children how live in households where they are constantly being criticized or demeaned typically have poor mental health.
The needs for mental nutrition is parallel to the needs for physical nutrition by the body. This nutrition consists of positive self-talk and feedback from others. Negative thoughts and criticisms from others can be poisonous and harmful to your mental health.
Speak well of yourself
Resources and references
Mental Nutrition - Counselor's site on "What are you feeding your mind?"
Questions and comments
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