I've worked at a grocery store for a year and a half. And as a person who's always had an interest in psychology, I've begun to read into the costumer's behaviors...as one does. I've noticed how costumers tend to treat people, react in certain situations, and yes, what food items they tend to purchase. I've noticed that some regular costumers are very predictable. When they approach my register with their basket of items, I can anticipate exactly what they're going to buy, and even how much it they usually purchase. Other costumers, the minority, I've noticed are more sporadic with their choices, buying vegetables one day and hoarding loads of snack foods the next. As odd as it may sound, I've picked up on a correlation between what costumers are buying and their moods. Some things are obvious. A costumer hosting a party buying endless platters of finger foods is typically anxious, stressed, and easily excitable, as one would expect. But I've found something more. I see an association with what specific costumers will buy based on even slight nuances in their moods. It had me thinking-do we all have comfort foods that are better for us based on our state of mind? There are the basics-a girl crying over a breakup needs ice cream and chocolate, someone hungover after a rough night needs greasy food, etc...But, I feel like there is something more individualized and possibly even neurological. I believe when we have comfort foods for particular moods or occurrences, we begin to make mental associations with the feeling and the food. Whether it happens consciously or subconsciously, our brain makes the connections. When you're sitting by a fire, even if you're burning up, do you not have the inclination to drink a warm cup of hot chocolate with little marshmallows? Don't lie, you do.
So, I've proposed a system for maximum comfort-food gratification. Useless? Possibly. Worth a try? Arguable. Here's the idea:
1. Choose yummy comfort food to eat while you're experiencing a difficult time.
2. If the difficulty subsides soon after for whatever reason, you will have a positive association with the food and should eat it the next time you encounter a similar difficulty. The positive association will remind you of your resilience and even help you recount how you got through the difficulty the last time.
3. If the difficulty at hand persists or gets worse, try a new comfort food the next time. You won't have the association caused by the previous issue and instead you'll have a new one.
I don't think that eating some good food can solve all your problems, as much as I wish it could. However, I believe there's a power within our minds that affects more minor details in our lives than we initially perceive. Think about it like alcohol. When someone drinks to rejoice and celebrate, they can develop a healthier relationship with alcohol. When one drinks to forget or numb pain, the relationship is not so good. While food is not a state-altering substance, mental associations exist just the same. Many would argue that some foods claiming to be "brain foods", don't really improve performance much at all, but if someone has an association of doing well on a test and eating a certain food, their mind just may subconsciously push them to do their best. Training your mind is key, and this is one minimal place to try it out. That snack you eat for "good luck" may actually be helping your mind!