Why Feeding Your Soul Is Just As Important As Feeding Your Body — And 10 Ways To Do It

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relaxed woman feeding her soul
Self

When you hear the word "hunger," you probably associate that with your physical body needing food. You identify hunger from pains in your stomach or when your stomach literally growls at you.

But, in addition to physical hunger, your soul hungers too.

Similarly, would you know what soul hunger feels like? Do you know how to feed your soul in the same way you feed your body? Feeding your soul is important, and learning how to do it can make your life so much better.

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Feeding your soul is as important as feeding your body.

First, identify your soul. The soul is defined in a variety of ways. The most detailed definition comes from the Merriam-Webster dictionary: "the spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings, or the universe."

For example, the soul’s invisible connection to God. You’re not walking around detached, but actually attached to something greater like the Universe or God. It can also be defined as a connection to the self.

Your soul is the deepest, truest part of the self. This part is connected to something outside the obvious. It's the soul’s connection to the unseen and is often intangible.

Therefore, it can be God, angels, energy, spirit, universe, nature, etc. It’s where the true self resides and yet you typically walk around either avoiding, numbing, or stuffing so that the soul ends up deprived and neglected.

How do you know if your soul is hungry?

Does your soul emit hunger pangs like your stomach would if it needed food? Does your soul growl when it needs sustenance?

There are 4 metaphorical "hunger pangs" your soul will communicate to you if it needs to be fed:

You will suffer from bitterness and resentment in your life. This usually is a product of poor boundaries.

You will feel tired. Fatigue comes from not getting enough rest or overcommitting yourself (again, poor boundaries).

You might experience burnout at work or at home.

You're using food to try and manage your emotions, fatigue, and stress.

Pay attention because feeding your soul is as important as feeding your body.

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Feeding your soul takes practice.

Do you resonate with any of these soul hunger pangs? If so, then you can explore ways to feed your soul. But, a word of caution, this takes practice and baby steps.

Don’t expect to go from hunger to fullness right away. Remember, go slow and explore the best options for yourself so that you can build a repertoire of potential soul-feeding strategies.

Here are the 10 ways to feed your soul and reach fulfillment.

1. Start off by asking yourself if any of the four types of soul "hunger pangs" resonate with you.

Pick one to focus on. For example, if you’re exhausted, see if setting an earlier bedtime or having a wind-down routine would result in you getting more rest.

Rest is one of the greatest things your soul can consume.

2. Set a time of day you can start to give yourself 30-60 minutes designated just for you.

Gradually build up to that time, but until then set aside at least some time where you get to do anything you want.

During this time, focus on self-care. This is not the time to clean the toilets. This is your time to sit and stare at a wall if you want to.

3. Give yourself space to feel the feels.

For instance, you have feelings and experiences every day. Give yourself some time to check in and see what you’re feeling, and if anything needs to be released — through a journal, a walk/run, or by calling a trusted friend.

Name your feelings and know that it’s OK to feel what you need to feel.

4. Learn to say "no."

Boundaries are essential to feeding your soul. Without those, you will end up bitter, resentful, and exhausted.

Remember, it’s not your job to make everyone happy. Let the people in your life be responsible for themselves and you focus on taking care of yourself.

5. Stop worrying about what other people think of you.

I love Brene Brown’s tool for this. She recommends getting a sticky note and putting the names of 2-3 people that really matter on that sticky note.

These names should be people that are safe and have your back. They are trusted and love you. Then, when you start to worry about what someone thinks, ask yourself if they are on your list.

If not, let it go!

6. Create a spa day for yourself.

Whether it's a scheduled massage or an at-home facial, put on the music, light the candles, and relax.

7. Think about your quiet time and see if meditation would benefit your soul.

Give it a try and notice how it feels.

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I love the app Insight Timer. It has about 65,000 free meditations you can try.

8. Listen to music.

Listening to music is truly food for the soul. Music has been known to have a powerful effect on the mind, body, and spirit

Whether it’s dance music you get to boogie to or it’s soft and relaxing, music will nourish you and lift you up.

9. Find something that makes you laugh.

When was the last time you laughed? Laughter is also a feast for the soul.

A comedy, a meme, or a joke. Anything that gets a good belly laugh going is a great thing.

10. Play.

Feeding your soul can be achieved through play. When was the last time you played, whether that's frolicking in the snow or playing a card game with your spouse or kids?

Get out the board games and have some fun. Play a little and notice how your soul responds.

What are some ways you nurture and feed your soul?

There are so many ways. Many more than I can list here. You can subtract or add to this list and I encourage you to keep exploring ways that nurture yourself.

The hunger of your soul is just as important as the hunger of your body. One of the greatest things about feeding your soul is that you won’t need to avoid, distract, or use food to manage stress, emotions, and everyday life.

Always remember that feeding your soul is just as important as feeding your body.

My hope is that you can be more aware, notice your soul’s hunger, and start feeding yourself in ways that really nurture and uplift you. Above all, you deserve it.

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Lesley Goth, PsyD, has created the Women’s Sustainable Weight Loss Intensive. She helps women leave the diet mentality, learn mindfulness, and get to the underlying emotions that create their ongoing weight loss struggles. To contact Lesley or find out more about her intensive, visit her website

This article was originally published at Denver Family Counseling Services. Reprinted with permission from the author.