Stoic – Eat and Be Merry

A few years ago a study by Brad Bushman at Ohio State University found a link between low blood sugar and arguments between spouses. It pretty much confirms the experiences of anyone who has ever been in a relationship and found themselves fighting right around lunch or dinner time for no good reason. The colloquial term for this? Being hangry. And it can ruin relationships, friendships, and generally make you a jerk.

The funny thing is that even the Stoics knew this and warned against it. As Seneca wrote:

“Hunger and thirst must be avoided…they grate on and inflame the mind. It’s an old saying that quarrels are sought by the weary’ just as much, too, by the hungry and the thirsty, and by every man who yearns for anything.”

So conquering your temper and being kind and respectful and fair is not simply a matter of your mind. How you treat your body affects how your mind operates (another study shows that judges are more merciful after lunch). We know this regardless of what the studies show. When we feel good, it’s easier to be good. When we are rested, it’s easier to be patient. Your tone will be softer when your stomach isn’t growling, and you’ll make better decisions when your energy levels are better.

This means that we have to take good care of ourselves. We have to eat right. We have to keep to a smart schedule. We have to know our physical limits. All of which, of course, requires the use of our mind now…so that our body isn’t at odds with it later.

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