Note from Elise: Occasionally I invite a guest to post their thoughts for you. I think you’ll enjoy their ideas and unique voice. At the end of the post, you can read a brief bio about the guest author. Enjoy!
There are often seasons in life where it seems impossible to find time to have a quiet moment to just let the mind wander. One may begin to feel overwhelmed and drained. With the beginning of a new year, it is especially important for people to reflect on where they currently are in life, where they want to go, and what they desire. How can one come up with solutions to problems when there is no time to sit down and mull over all aspects of the issue? A simple answer to this question is fasting.
Traditionally, fasting has been used as a simple method to “solve” the issues that one is facing. How can giving up certain foods/drinks over a period of time lead to the resolution of a problem about… finances, family, relationships?
Over and over again in life, we may find ourselves too busy or too overcome with a certain issue to find the ability to tackle it. Fasting allows us to work on our self-control, discipline, and our spiritual lives, while quieting our minds long enough to get the problem-solving gears moving. It also leads to appreciation of items that we take for granted every day. Fasting might sound impossible, but when we consider the fact that several people all over the world wake up daily not knowing if they will get to eat or drink at all that day, we begin to understand how possible it can be. Research on short-term fasting has shown that it helps with anxiety, stress, depression, and concentration.
Fasting is unique to each person. Maybe you love chocolate and giving it up for a day would be a challenge. Maybe, for you, it is sacrificing eating meat for three weeks. Maybe it is simply avoiding a certain restaurant or coffee shop, and eating in for a month. Each person has his or her own motivation.
The trick about fasting is not focusing on what you are giving up, but instead spending that free time, money, and energy on an activity that builds the self. Replace that food or drink item with time for yourself, moments to reflect, or simple quiet. You will be breaking free of the hold that “the thing” has on you, while freeing up time to focus on positive change.
Decrease anxiety and stress. Increase concentration and self-discipline. Allow quiet time to reflect on your life.
Make your fasting experience personal and valuable.
Lynn Ray is an undergraduate student at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. She is studying Biology and Psychology, with an interest in pursuing the medical field or counseling afterwards.
Lynn is deeply interested in helping younger women build strong, healthy self-images. She aspires to write an autobiography shortly after she graduates. Lynn enjoys reading and walking with her dog on nature trails.