Note: I don’t generally write about politics, but I was inspired by the Supreme Court decisions at the end of June 2015 to uphold the ACA and support marriage equality. This is based on my opinion only – it’s not meant to offend anyone. Also, for more information about the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating program, visit my website or www.AmIHungry.com.
What do the recent Supreme Court decisions about the Affordable Care Act and marriage equality have to do with mindful eating? More than you might think.
During my health coaching training, one of my instructors asked a question along the lines of, “If you could go home every day to someone who would give you a big hug and ask how you were doing, and they really wanted to know the answer, do you think you would be very inclined to turn to food for comfort?”
My answer was a resounding no, as was that of others. Admittedly, relationships aren’t always like this, or all at least not all the time. But it’s hard to argue that having love, empathy, kindness, and physical touch in your life will fill you in ways food can’t, and that it may well reduce the amount you eat out of stress, loneliness, sadness, or any other emotion that requires comfort.
And now, same-sex couples can legally recognize the person they love through marriage. Although I don’t know how they feel, I have heard many say how this lack has been a great sorrow for them. I imagine that such lack of acceptance and, in some cases, secrecy, would make it difficult to truly relax into your life.
Similarly, in the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating program, we talk about nourishing ourselves intellectually and spiritually, as well as physically and emotionally. It’s important to find things you enjoy doing, that nurture and replenish you, that you’re passionate about.
Some people’s jobs fill that need. Others may not love their job but don’t hate it, and they seek fulfillment in other activities. But some people have been tied to doing work that is slowly (or quickly) destroying them because if they quit, they wouldn’t be able to afford healthcare. How many of those people do you think have the energy to eat mindfully, to find ways they enjoy moving their body? Maybe some, but my experience has been that such jobs are so draining it’s almost impossible to focus on anything else.
And then Obamacare happened. In Maine and across the nation, I know a number of people saw this as their chance to do something they felt passionate about, to take the risk of starting their own business. Some will not succeed – just as some same-sex marriages will end in divorce – but to even have the option is exhilarating. Even for those who don’t mind their jobs, this may be incredibly freeing, to know they’re not trapped. If things get bad, they could potentially leave and try something new without being terrified of having an accident or illness that requires expensive medical care. Or perhaps they could work part-time and have more time for other activities.
Of course these rulings don’t make things perfect, and I know some would argue they make the country less perfect. But for me, they give people a better chance at creating a life they love, and that, in turn, likely means they will be happier and healthier and perhaps even more mindful moving forward. And that makes my own life that much brighter.