Do you try to meet physical/emotional needs in ways that are harmful? your mind and body really are entwined.
To eat another person. A horrible thought …But if you were desperate enough? I’m not asking whether you would want to eat another person. I’m talking about if there were, or seemed to be, no other options.
What if, after the miracle of surviving a plane crash. You have a physical need, and you have to meet it. But our needs are not just physical.
This whole Dark Side of Your Emotional Needs is, in a way, about cannibalism. Metaphorically speaking,
When we feel there is no actual ‘food’, we might be driven eventually to cannibalism – or we might need to learn what we can legitimately eat. We might need to learn to distinguish between real food and fake or poisonous ‘food’.
Someone starving for attention may cannibalize a learning situation, for instance, by doing all the talking. They may monopolize and take attention away from the teacher and others. By ‘eating the wrong thing’, they prevent another need from being fulfilled
Someone starving for some kind of recognition from his colleagues might behave badly as a way of gleaning some kind of status. Someone starving for intimacy might get it from some poisonous source such as an abuser.
How we meet our needs determines what kind of a world we live in.
If you want to know human motivation, understand emotional problems and recognize how evil operates, then you have to appreciate how the drive to meet our basic primal needs can fulfill or destroy us.
Here we are looking at how mind/body needs can play havoc with lives and how trying to meet a desperate physical need in the wrong way can send us spiraling into havoc.
Here is the story of Mark
He wasn’t psychotic in the normal sense. He was sleep deprived. He was under enormous pressure. His house had become worth less than he was paying for it. He’d had to take on two jobs and would “maybe catch 10 minutes of shut-eye here and there”. He had four dependent children.
Eventually he crashed (and couldn’t work at all for six weeks), but not before begging “Please… I just need to sleep… please let me sleep.”
If your brain doesn’t get enough REM sleep – in Mark’s case because he wasn’t sleeping at all – then the dream mechanism will start to operate when you are awake. “I collapsed into bed. I slept for 16 solid hours. I felt much better, but still drained.”
Your body matters, and so does your mind, because they’re the same matter. Your emotions directly affect your body, and it goes the other way too. Mental and physical health cannot be disentangled. Mark’s sleep starvation had a huge impact on his mental well-being.
Depression is a physical stress condition as much as, or I should say, alongside, an emotional disorder. Its effects can feel as much physical as emotional. Long-term stress causes inflammation in the body, which in turn contributes to all kinds of diseases. Even the simple act of recalling a time you were really angry can reduce the pumping efficiency of the heart.
Perceived social rejection lights up the same brain regions as the experience of physical pain. On the other side of the coin, viewing a picture of someone you love lessens the impact of physical pain by 44%, and being in an emotionally supportive relationship helps both mental and physical health.I could go on (and on), but I won’t. You get the idea. What is good for the mind is good for the body.
And what is good for the body is good for the mind. Having a terrible diet (or eating foods your body is intolerant of) can make you feel depressed and anxious. Conversely, physical exercise is protective against anxiety and a wonderful mood enhancer, especially when done outdoors in nature.
What are your relationships with?
Michelle had been eating a large chocolate bar every night for around a year. I asked her if anything had happened a year ago, and she told me it had. Her relationship had broken down. She wasn’t slow to recognize that this was all an unconscious attempt at meeting her need for intimacy.
Michelle had a relationship with chocolate. Many of us do have some kind of relationship with sugar, or caffeine, or drugs, or chocolate. There is a part of all of us that knows full well that a relationship with alcohol or drugs or sweet pastry pies is no real substitute for a warm romance or friendship, or for a life rich in meaning or social connection. But in the moment it can feel like a solution.
Intolerable side effects
It’s a cliché to talk about ‘self-medicating’. But people do. Whether through alcohol, or barbiturates, or cannabis, it’s a common way to ‘switch off’, forget about the day and absorb oneself in the moment.
But self-medication is always accompanied by self-delusion – convincing ourselves, consciously or unconsciously, that the ‘medication’ has few side effects… it’s the side effects that are the problem. Side effects that can make it harder for people to meet their actual physical and emotional needs.
When we seek in the long term to provide ourselves with energy through coffee instead of rest, to distract ourselves from problems through the oblivion of food, alcohol, drugs, or to resort to any form of self-harm rather than actually working to solve our problems, then the attempted ‘solution’ becomes the enemy – not the comforting or encouraging ‘friend’ it might masquerade as.
We all need to work at being attuned to our bodies. If we don’t, we can lose the capacity to interpret the signals from our bodies. We need to listen to our bodies – always. What is it you actually need?
Each and every one of us has a natural current running through us called the ultradian rhythm. Every 90 to 120 minutes we shift from left-brain dominance to right-brain. The shift takes about 20 minutes, and it usually makes us feel a little entranced or daydreamy.
This is the time at work we might feel like just stopping for a chat. Maybe we need to just slow down for a little while, or shift from outward to inward focus. But too many of us try to override the feeling with more coffee or a crafty cigarette. We silence the body’s attempts to let us know what we need. Or we just refuse to listen.
It’s during this shift that the immune system does its upkeep, the brain incorporates new learning, and the gut digests and absorbs nutrients. It’s little wonder that when we continue to swim against the tides of this natural rhythm we start to feel broken and emotional.
Sure, you can refuse to listen to your physical needs for a while, override them for a bit… but do it for long enough and you’ll come to feel depleted on every level.
And that’s when they more easily travel inward. Hypnotizing someone is often a case of just letting the sails catch the breeze of this warm and wonderful natural shift in physical and mental focus. We need to listen and work with, not against ourselves.
I not robot!
People increasingly treat themselves as machines. We work through lunch, sleep too little, eat junk on the run, skip the gym, and prop up our flagging bodies with ‘energy drinks’.
But neglecting proper nutrition, sleep, rest, and exercise long term leads to psychological problems and stress-induced illness, and not just on the individual level. In unhealthy populations, collective emotions run riot. And that can lead us down some dark paths.
With too little exposure to natural light, poor nutrition, and exercise we start to feel second-rate. Weak and sick in mind and body. But the very ways we try to meet our physical needs for activity, energy, and relaxation can leave us with a ‘cure’ even worse than the ‘disease’.
Stop, listen, feel… ask… what do i need right now? Love, attention, sleep, nutrition, hugs, praise, stretching, movement…. To your Health, Results & Success!
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Lynn Thier, RHN
About: Lynn Thier will get you there ~ with practical cutting edge methods for making positive shifts & change happen. Owner of Peak Performance Academy, Lynn teaches and consults on how to get mentally fit in sport, business and life. Lynn offers seminars, training’s and programs as well as Board Certifications in NLP Coaching, NLP Techniques, Hypnosis & Time Line Therapy(R).