I don’t know how many of you watch Rachel Ray or know her methodology, but one of the things I’ve picked up from watching her is that she has a basic pantry list she keeps her kitchen stocked with.
As long as those pantry items are available, she can put together any meal just by adding a hint of other things. It’s genius really. Since Rachel taught me that, I try to keep my pantry stocked so I am at the ready when it comes to cooking.
This is NOT a post about cooking.
I recently went to a meeting about emotional and mental health sponsored by my church’s women’s group. It really hit the spot. This meeting, led by group of Mental Health Professionals, did a lot to shed light on ways to promote better mental health. There are a lot of women who secretly or not so secretly struggle with this.
The discussion included a short list of “ingredients” our psyches need for emotional health and happiness. Here’s where Rachel’s pantry comes in. While these items were discussed, I thought about my life now and in the past. I recognized why each ingredient is significant to my own recipe for wellbeing. I identified times when these certain items had been used up and not replaced and I felt their void. I was like bread with no yeast or cookies with no sugar.
I’ll share the list. I hope you’ll read each ingredient and think about how it contributes to YOUR recipe for emotional health. If there are things you’re running low or are plain out of, take this time to make a little “shopping” list and get the essential pantry items you need. Your life will be more delicious if you do.
Six Pantry Ingredients
Connection. We need to feel a connection with people around us and I’m not just talking about your children or your spouse. People need people, a group who understands them.
Certainty. We need to know what we have today will be there tomorrow. It’s knowing that tomorrow you’ll have a home, a job, heat, food, love, cupcakes those kinds of things. Panic sets in when basic life fundamentals are in jeopardy. It’s hard to be “well” while freaked out about something.
Variety. Too much certainty however, isn’t good. We get BORED. Knowing exactly what is going to happen everyday is BORING. We need unique things to happen on a regular basis. I’ve practically taken care of this problem for you. You’re welcome. Check out the Funnest 30 Day Challenge Ever. Or simply look at THE LIST. This is one of the simplest ways to relieve boredom or even symptoms of depression. If you don’t believe me, just ask me, or…try it out, I dare you.
Significance. We need to know who we are and what we do is valued and essential to others. Depressed people often report that they feel like no one would notice or care if they were not there.
Growth. You’ve heard the old adage if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. Experts say this is true for mental health. Without growth it’s easy to feel old and outdated. We need to find and take opportunities to do more to progress and keep learning.
Contribution. We also need to find and take opportunities to give our time, talents, energies and resources to the society around us. Doing so brings great personal satisfaction and lulls away negative thoughts and/or symptoms of depression.
Having these ingredients in your pantry will go a long way to creating an appetizing life you can be happy about. Just like cooking, you’ll have to seek out other fixings to flavor your life exactly the way you want, but if you have these things on hand you can always count on making something you can look forward to.
These six staples are just a few of the items you might keep in the pantry. What are some other ingredients in your happiness pantry you couldn’t live with out? Or feel free to leave any other feedback. You never know if something you might say could help stock someone else’s shelf.