3 Reasons You Should Abstain from Your Vices During Springtime
If you grew up Catholic, you’re already familiar with the practice of giving something up for Lent. In fact, the idea of fasting or parting with our vices for a predetermined period of time isn’t specific to Christianity. Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and pagan religions all have various traditions of fasting, generally as a means for developing compassion for the less fortunate, disciplining one’s mind and honoring a higher power.
“The basic teaching in all religions is to develop a relationship with God and fasting is one way of achieving it because when we fast, we are telling God that we appreciate the bounties that he has provided for us like water and food and we also learn what it is like to live without food,” explains Patheos. “This way we can become more compassionate towards our fellow human beings who might not enjoy the basic necessities of life.”
Not religious? You can still benefit from a period of fasting, particularly during the springtime. Spring is associated with rebirth, renewal and life—making it the perfect time for some spiritual reflection and the shedding of old ways. If you’re still not convinced, here are three reasons I recommend giving something up or fasting during the springtime months.
You’ll Get In Touch With Your Emotions
Foods, behaviors and drinks that we rely on for fun and comfort (say, alcohol, sugary sweets, salty snacks or unhealthy sexual habits) are often tools for masking our emotions. This is why emotional eating is such a prevalent phenomenon. When you think of emotional eating or drinking, you may imagine a situation in which someone is very sad and turns to eating or drinking to fill a void. That may be the case sometimes, but it’s not the only way that emotional consumption works.
For example, boredom is a common human emotion that’s often masked by eating or drinking. If you find that you consume things when you’re bored, it’s likely that you’re not dealing with a situation that needs attention. Once you realize you’re bored and take away your vices, you’re forced to ask yourself: What should I be doing instead of eating? Perhaps you’ll discover that your relationship or your job no longer bring you fulfillment, and you’ll finally deal with that situation.
In a similar vein, if you tend to turn to food or drink when you’re really depressed, you’ll be forced to deal with the cause of your depression rather than masking it with your vices. Maybe you drink after work because you have issues with self-confidence or social anxiety. By eliminating your vices, you’ll get better in tune with WHY you’re doing what you’re doing.
You’ll Become Healthier
During the springtime, many of us become excited for summer and look to shed pounds, get healthier or increase our exercise levels. By abstaining from substances that tend to control us, we can take the first step toward a healthier lifestyle. Eliminating unhealthy foods can help us lose weight, while abstaining from unhealthy habits such as cigarette smoking can put us in a healthier frame of mind to enjoy the summer.
You Just May Quit the Habit for Good
Springtime is a time of rebirth, and you just may realize you’ve been reborn into new, healthier habits if you give something up for a prolonged period of time. Maybe after 60 days without sugar, you’ll find that you’re more alert, clear-headed and energized than ever before (and you might have a slimmer waistline to boot!). According to The Guardian, the exact amount of time it takes to break or form a habit is roughly 21 to 35 days. Abstain for that period of time, and you’ll have a great headstart on changing your life for good.