Note: With Halloween coming up, I thought I’d do a short series of posts about some of the messages I’ve found in Dove chocolate wrappers. While I often enjoy the messages, a few of them make me uneasy, particularly ones related to chocolate, so I thought I’d write about them.
“Chocolate therapy is oh, so good.”
When I read this, all I could initially think of was Harry Potter, since in that world, chocolate is literally used as a form of treatment after an encounter with the Dementors. (For those unfamiliar with Harry Potter, Dementors are nasty creatures that suck the life and happiness from those they touch.) Eating chocolate seems to help restore emotional equilibrium to those who’ve had a brush with them.
Happily, those of us in the Muggle world don’t have to contend with Dementors, but we can certainly still suffer from depression, as well as anxiety, fear, loneliness, etc. It is also true that many may turn to chocolate as a means of therapy. After all, it does have some health benefits, particularly dark chocolate, in addition to releasing endorphins, which promote feelings of pleasure and well-being.
But is chocolate really therapy? And if so, is it good therapy?
Yes, chocolate tastes good and may relax you and make you happy, at least temporarily. A lot of things can fall into that category, though, and we wouldn’t necessarily call them therapy.
My main concern is that eating chocolate doesn’t help anyone understand why you wanted it to begin with. It may treat the symptom, but not the cause. As a result, you’ll continue to reach for it whenever that particular problem comes up, and that ultimately does not leave you in a better place.
That’s one of the things I enjoy most about leading the Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating program – helping people understand what their true needs are, instead of automatically turning to food. It can take a while to understand what that underlying need is and how to best address it, but once you do, you won’t even have to wonder if chocolate is therapy or not. Instead, you can just wonder what your favorite kind is, and if you want to eat it for pure enjoyment.