The article of interest is Food for love: the role of food offering in empathic emotion regulation by Myrte E. Hamburg, Catrin Finkenauer, and Carlo Schuengel. It analyzes the regulation of emotion by food and its social benefits. The article also puts into perspective the effect of negative emotions on food consumption.
Why are most important events associated with food? In other words, what is the essence of food in events? What role does it play? The most interesting aspect of the article is the association of food with emotion. It brings into perspective on the significance of food apart from merely being perceived as a basic need. Most occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas are always celebrated with food. In these occasions, food plays the role of a unifying factor that brings people together as they share a common meal, holding conversations about their lives. In a broader perspective, there are social benefits embedded on meals. According to the article, food has an influence on the emotional aspect of an individual. Furthermore, people tend to express various preferences on food; especially food from their culture (Hamburg, Finkenauer & Schuengel, 2014). For example, a Mexican may prefer eating tacos to pizza due to the identification of the food with their culture. The same applies to a Chinese whereby, when he or she is exposed to modern foods, they day they come across sushi, they will be delighted to have the meal given its cultural identity aspect. The underlying perspective, therefore, is that an individual is always delighted whenever they have a meal that can be identified with their culture. As stated earlier, food contains a unifying factor whereby during events, people gather to share meals thus, facilitating social interaction. The interactions are beneficial in that they give the individuals present a sense of belonging.
Another social benefit is that food assists in releasing stress or rather has the capability of soothing an individual during a difficult situation. It, therefore, becomes imperative to analyze its downside of handling emotions. A practical example of a situation involving the soothing effect of food in infants is whereby most of them tend to calm down after feeding. Most people often turn to food when they are depressed. In some way, the food can bring comfort as all the stress is directed in its consumption. The problem arises when one indulges in it in excess such that it becomes a health issue. Most of the situations that result in obesity come from the excessive indulgence of food that is mostly associated with stress and depression. Additionally, obese or overweight individuals are at a higher risk of getting other diseases such as diabetes, heart problems, gallbladder problems, as well as some forms of cancer. From personal experience, food is always taken in large amounts when one is eating alone as opposed to eating in public. Possibly, the high intake fills the void of loneliness when eating alone. According to the article, the rate of food consumption of individuals is often influenced by negative emotions (Hamburg, Finkenauer & Schuengel, 2014). According to personal observations, most obese people in reality shows aimed at losing weight often attest to the fact that their weight is associated with depression; they found comfort in excessive eating. Most of them, also, are women who claim that their marital problems drove them to overindulge in food and hence gaining much weight.
Hamburg, M., Finkenauer, C., & Schuengel, C. (2014). Food for love: the role of food offering in empathic emotion regulation. Frontiers In Psychology, 5. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00032
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