An Eating Disorder Is a Very Serious Problem That Demands Immediate Attention
The Chinese used to bind the feet of women to make them smaller. So tiny and fragile were their feet, in fact, that some women were left essentially crippled, barely able to walk. To the Chinese, this was a sign of beauty and social status. But to us it seems a cruel and bizarre practice.
The irony is that we in present-day American society do something just as cruel, just as bizarre as the Chinese did. We tend to see the thin, emaciated, malnourished female as beautiful. If your body has “the look,” you are seen as healthier, younger, better able to wear the right clothes, and you will gain social approval more readily.
“What disturbs people’s minds is not events, but their judgments on events.”
In China, parents once bound the feet of their daughters in pursuit of beauty. In parts of Africa, both men and women elongate their earlobes and decorate their skin with minerals to look attractive, and this trend may be found in the United States now. At one time in this society, we found plump, rotund people to be the epitome of beauty.
Old movies show us that the Tarzans and Supermen of past decades would hardly pass muster in today’s gyms. Today we define beauty as a thin, youthful, and muscular look. Today we go under the knife and on extreme diets to achieve a socially acceptable appearance – not to mention tattoos and body piercing – all practices that are similar to the early Chinese custom of binding feet.
Although changes are taking place, strong social standards have dictated, especially through the media, how we should look – and if our own bodies deviate from these expectations, which is the case for almost all of us, we can feel inferior and ashamed. We hide. We cover up. We don’t like an important part of our selves. We feel depressed. We feel anxious in front of other people. We feel powerless – and we are apologetic when we show the world who we are.
Obesity is at epidemic proportions in the United States and most Westernized countries. If you are overweight, you are hardly alone, as you can see by looking around you. About two-thirds of Americans are overweight and the statistics climb by the year.
Even children now are heavier than they have ever been – and this is happening during a time in our history when the thin look is defined as the ideal. Type II diabetes and hypertension (or high blood pressure) are two diseases associated with obesity, and the rates of these diseases have been increasing steadily over the years. Obesity is also linked to heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.
What a revolutionary breakthrough it would be if we found a way to lower blood pressure, lessen the ravages of depression, boost our immune systems, enhance our sense of emotional well being, decrease our feelings of loneliness, increase motivation, elevate our self-image, and promote our ability to trust! These are only some of the benefits of pet ownership. Under most circumstances, having a pet is a healthy and healing experience.
Engaging in Simple, Healthy Pleasures Can Restore Balance to our Hectic Lives
The brain has several pleasure centers which are activated by chemicals which speed satisfying sensations from one nerve to the next. Children the world over, when they are left alone to do what they choose, engage in endless hours of play. They pursue fun. Childhood may be the time in life when our brains are trained to experience pleasure. If we accomplish this task well as children, we may have healthier lives as adults — as long as we don’t lose the ability to play that we acquired in childhood.
The incidence of depression in our society seems to be on the rise. Recent estimates suggest that as many as one in three of us will experience some form of depression within our lifetimes. Others claim that depression may even represent a symptom of our times which are characterized by alienation, lack of strong community bonds, and hopeless economic situations for many.
It is normal to feel sad and experience down days occasionally. Most people go through normal periods of feeling dispirited, especially after they experience a loss or any other period of stress.
But what specialists call clinical depression is different from just being “down in the dumps.” The main difference is that the sad or empty mood does not go away after a couple of weeks – and everyday activities like eating, sleeping, socializing, or working can be affected.