You absolutely crushed your physics exam? Let’s get some ice cream! Your softball team won the championship? Let’s get some 1/2 priced apps! You got a phenomenal performance review at work? Let’s get a cocktail (or seven)!
Last time I checked, I’m not a dog. I don’t have a tail to wag. I don’t bark whenever someone knocks at the door. And I most certainly don’t sleep 95% of the day (Lookin’ at you, Dave-the-Dog). So, why is it that we reward ourselves for good things with treats as if we were dogs?
Treats are given to dogs to encourage the dog to keep doing the trick. If you sit when I tell you to, then you get treat. But we aren’t dogs. We understand that life is just generally better if we do X. We don’t need Y to do any better (or poorer) with the task.
Things that you can do instead of rewarding yourself with an ice cream cone:
- Do something restorative that will make you feel better: get a massage, buy a new pair of shoes, take a long bath, etc.
- Treat food as being secondary: going out for a celebratory dinner? Focus on the company you’re with instead of the food on your plate.
- Create something even if it sucks: being creative and making something with your hands lasts way longer than that slice of pepperoni pizza.
- Do not associate your happiness with food: happiness is so much bigger than food. Food is a small part, but not the entire kit and kaboodle!
Now, am I saying that you should just stop treating yourself? NO! You should always TREAT YO SELF, but maybe we should aim to do it in restorative ways instead of destructive ways.