We are now in Lent – the period that one is supposed to give up something we enjoy for 40 days and nights – until Easter.
It kicked off yesterday with Pancake day or Shrove Tuesday where it is traditional to eat pancakes as this was seen as the final feast before the fasting of Lent.
Today it is very rare to fast for 40 days and nights, whatever your religion or faith system is based on, but is there any benefit to this ancient practice.
Proponents of the 5-2 diet where you eat drastically reduced calories (500-600) for 2 days a week will tell you that fasting is very good for your body. It reduces the chances of strokes, heart attacks and diabetes but I don’t think any of them would advocate a prolonged fast which would be much more likely to have a negative effect.
So how about giving up other stuff? Well if the thing you are giving up is intrinsically bad for you, such as smoking or self harming in some way, then that would be a good thing to do – and to keep up way past Easter.
What if the thing you are giving up isn’t exactly good for you, but isn’t necessarily bad either, like chocolate or the odd glass of wine. Well, again there appears to be a benefit. Showing a level of self denial or will power helps us to achieve the things we want in life. Psychologists believe that in some ways will power is like a muscle – you have to use it regularly to keep it strong.
How about giving up something you don’t like – for instance worrying or getting upset by things. Giving those up for a while could leave you feeling brilliant!
If you haven’t already given something up for Lent – why not set yourself a little challenge and see how you do?
You could even get people to sponsor you and raise a little money for charity.
Go on – Give it up!