Stress Eating

  • How to Focus When You’re Spent and Overwhelmed

    “Take control of your habits. Take control of your life.”  — Anonymous

    We all fall into habits we would rather not repeat, but when overwhelm leaves you feeling spent, they’re difficult to avoid.

    It’s easy – habits are the shortcuts of life.

    In my house there’s a habit of pulling the clothes out of the dryer and onto the laundry room floor to quickly grab of the one thing that’s needed.

    It’s totally my responsibility since I started it!

    When I was in the midst of recovering from cancer treatment and so incredibly tired with two young children this is what happened most of the time. It was like I treated the space as one big chaotic closet.

    Totally overwhelming!

    And yet, the bright side was that at least we had clean clothes, if not a little wrinkled!

    Habits help you to know what to expect, even when it’s something you don’t want.

    We do this in all areas of our lives.

    Most of our relationships run on some form of habit. We create patterns that help us predict what’s next, so we’re less stressed with new dynamics.

    I’m sure you’ve experienced those times when you know how your partner or co-worker will react.

    When they do what they normally do and you say to yourself, ‘I kind of thought it would go that way.’

    We do this with ourselves too – all the time!  And it’s a big part of what leads to overwhelm and exhaustion.  When the habit is a thought or expectation that things are the way, they are it can quickly lead to overwhelm.

    Thought habits are also some of the most exhausting habits to change.

    How many times have you told yourself you’re going to change the habit and there you are again, like on autopilot, you’re at it again?

    Even when you don’t want the habit, it’s less effort and takes less energy to change the habit to something more helpful.

    Aligned Positive Self Talk Relieves Overwhelm

    When one of my new coaching clients begins their journey to work life balance one of their top goals is to be less critical, especially of their selves.

    This shows up most of the time in the way they speak to themselves.

    Often what helps the most isn’t to simply replace the negative thought with a positive one. Instead, a recalibration to shift the energy from overwhelm to alignment is what makes a sustainable change.

    All that said, it’s also important to acknowledge that there are certain points in the year when we have more to do. Sometimes overwhelm doesn’t start with emotional stress it starts with the sheer volume of tasks in short period of time.

    For parents with school age children typically September and May are very busy with lots of extra commitments as the school year begins and ends. And as always there’s the holiday season with work, school, social and religious commitments. These months of the year are a little different, but the same skill of focus helps to prioritize competing needs.

    During the busy months it’s helpful to go into them with a plan for recalibration that’s based on your need for alignment – to live in harmony with your goals and values.

    So how do you make this happen? When you focus on changing the way you talk to yourself, in your own head, real change happens.

    Thought Habits Help You Focus

    This is because most of the thoughts are habits.

    They’re locked inside, never spoken, so you don’t have the opportunity to challenge them.

    Here are some examples from real life…

    Take a common statement many women say a lot,

    ‘I’m going to be good and pass on dessert.’

    You’ve probably heard this from the time you were little or maybe you even say it now!

    The message becomes ingrained, that eating dessert is somehow tied to morality.

    The implication is that you’re a bad person if you eat dessert.

    At best it says that you lack strength and willpower if you do indulge.

    Avoiding dessert becomes a habit, be good and don’t eat it. (Does this also make a statement about women who enjoy sensual pleasures? Hmmm…)

    If you do break the habit and eat dessert then a cascade of guilt and shame begins — the next default habit – an expectation of judgement and more guilty that reinforce the judgement.

    Changing this habit is definitely possible, with an intentional process that cuts through all of the expectations.  When you’re in the experience of enjoying dessert and focused on non-judgment you’re building a new perspective. A new habit is born and it replaces the overwhelming habit of food guilt as you focus on the process and repeat the new habit.

    Non-judgmental Focus

    Non-judgmental focus helps to change overwhelming habits with aligned ways of thinking.

    Creating and using alternative statements that you have at the ready helps you to focus on what you want – freedom from overwhelm. Moving toward what you do want is infinitely easier than pushing back against what you don’t want.

    Here’s an example of what I mean using the dessert example:

    ‘I’m bad if I eat dessert’ becomes –

    ‘Food doesn’t hold moral value, only nutritional value. I can choose to eat dessert or not and I am morally the same person no matter which choice I make.’

    Or it could also be one of these statements,

    ‘I’m experiencing one of the simple pleasures in life!’

    ‘I’m satisfied and I’m not interested in dessert right now.’

    These are just a few statements to get you started. Practicing one of these statements and adding more of you own gives you something to use when it’s needed, so you’re prepared.

    Self Leadership

    Trying to come up with supportive alternatives to your habits when you’re overwhelmed is like asking yourself for a magic wand. It’s so far outside of what’s possible that it’s a sure set up for even more overwhelm. But what does help is to practice these statements and add more of your own, so you’re ready.

    I know I just said that twice, because my experience is that we think we’ll remember, but we don’t!

    Practice makes progress as my kid’s teachers say!

    My hope for you is that this way of being with yourself becomes so much of a habit that supports your happiness that they become automatic.

    Afterall, the relationship you have with yourself is the one that matters the most. When you’re in alignment with what you want and need, you’re able to use your felt experience as the information you need to shift your perspective and focus on what matters.

    And, if you’re like most of us, you’ll most likely experience a bit of overwhelm from time to time. The difference is to acknowledge it when it’s at a low level, so you can more easily identify what you need and move toward it.

    Focus might seem like it’s confining, but what it really does is keep you on track, so you receive what you truly want. The snowball effect begins to take hold and when you receive what you want. it’s most likely what you need for a fulfilling life as well.

    Conclusion

    My challenge to you is to look at your week and with compassion in your heart, answer this question:

    ‘What will fill my life with calm and clarity today?’

    Remember, focus is an investment in your future self. It gives you a rich awareness of how you can own your life and lead yourself to a life filled with fulfilment and intention.

    I can’t wait for you to experience the peace and fulfillment you desire in your life!

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    It's your magic wand for stress!

  • How to Cure Stress Eating and Get What You Really Need

    There’s so much information about how to stop stress eating.

    Every day my news feed and social platforms tell me the new and improved ways to hack stress eating and emotional eating.

    The advice usually falls into one of these 3 categories:

    1. Funny, in your face non-diet messages often delivered by young women who fit the dominant culture beauty ideal. Not that there’s anything wrong with it. In fact, I’m really happy that the younger generations have a much better viewpoint of diet culture. But decades of stress, dieting and cultural influences take a bit more effort than eating an ice cream while flipping off diet culture.

    2. Information to that appears to be new, but it isn’t it’s just having a refreshed cover. This you can probably guess what I’m talking about! You know the same diet programs that have been around for a long time or even newer apps that claim to not be a diet. Just because you say you’re not a diet doesn’t mean you aren’t a diet – we see you out there!

    3. Professionals who offer their research evidence that their way is the correct or best way to live. This strikes me as academic competitiveness, which is good, it pushes humanity to find better ways. The problem is that it paints a picture of all or nothing with the researcher or influencer the hero who has found the golden key that will unlock the secret garden if only we will follow them.

    I’m sure there are many, many more we could add, but let’s get to what really matters.

    The issue is that stress eating isn’t really about the food.

    Food just happens to be the focus or device for relief.  The reason why people use food for stress relief is that it works – to a point. It happens to be food is for a lot of reasons:

    • Habits learned when young
    • Habits formed in college
    • The brain really does feel happier and calmer after eating
    • No knowing what else to do calm stress
    • Boredom

    Using food is easy, inexpensive and relatively socially acceptable.

    Women bond over both their desire for decadence and the inevitable discussion about diets and workouts. It’s like we’re in this struggle together and yet, we haven’t’ quite figured out how to stop it.

    The issue is that stress eating isn’t really about the food.

    Food just happens to be the focus or device for relief.  The reason why people use food for stress relief is that it works – to a point. It happens to be food is for a lot of reasons:

    • Habits learned when young
    • Habits formed in college
    • The brain really does feel happier and calmer after eating
    • No knowing what else to do calm stress
    • Boredom

    Using food is easy, inexpensive and relatively socially acceptable.

    Women bond over both their desire for decadence and the inevitable discussion about diets and workouts. It’s like we’re in this struggle together and yet, we haven’t’ quite figured out how to stop it.

    That’s were getting down to the root of the issue is really the only way to break free from stress eating and that’s an easy solution!

    If we stop the distractions of focusing on the food and focus on what gets you to that point then we have a real solution.

    The problem is that most of us were never taught how to work with our emotions and calm the anxious brain and body in a way that results in clarity about what to do next.

    Here’s the really good part, this isn’t about digging around in your unconscious to find the “root cause” and then when you understand the reasons why you’ll somehow, magically stop stress eating.

    I wish it was that easy, because I bet you know why you stress eat, but that hasn’t helped to stop it.

    When I started my practice as a psychotherapist and coach that’s what I thought. That we would uncover the source of the pain and it would be relieved. But, when I began my PhD studies, I learned that emotional eating is really stress eating and the pathway to lasting relief is:

    1. Emotional Mastery
    2. Clear Communication
    3. Well-being Habits

    This is the Powerful Calm System and is the foundation for conscious eating which is a very simple way to get back to listening to your body, eating in response to hunger and mindfully enjoying food.

    Emotional Mastery

    Conscious eating is eating with awareness of what your body needs for fuel and satisfaction.

    It is eating with respectful kindness for yourself, free from judgment. You learn to follow listen to yourself and use your emotions as your guide.

    It is negotiating between your body and mind, listening to your heart in the present moment.

    Conscious eating is the awareness that the next time you need to eat, you have the opportunity to make new choices in each new moment.

    Conscious eating frees you from deprivation and urgency, which is usually a frantic anxiety filled impulse to get what you want now.

    It might be because –

    • it may be gone soon
    • this is the last time you’ll allow yourself to eat it
    • the diet starts tomorrow, so better have it now!

    Stress eating, (emotional eating) can be like this. Sometimes to distract, sometimes to avoid, sometimes to control feelings which seem unmanageable. No matter the path it takes, it all leads back to stress as the cause.

    Conscious eating frees you so that you can stop for a moment, give yourself time and space to identify your feelings, identify your hunger, and make decisions based on what your mind, body and heart needs.

    Clear Communication

    Conscious eating helps you to connect with the fullness of your life free from the stress that interferes with your goals.

    You can nourish yourself in the full meaning of the word nourish.

    The goal is to truly enjoy your relationship with food and your body, without guilt, negative self-talk, excuses or shame.

    Each meal is one moment in time.

    Sometimes you will eat purely for fuel. You are hungry, busy, and just need to get some nutrition in your system to function well.

    You are living your life and food is simply one part a many important parts of life, not the one thing you spend too much time thinking about.

    At other times you eat for enjoyment as well as nourishing your body. Clear communication with yourself allows you to freely enjoy food without guilt because the choices you make aren’t a reaction to stress, but rather they are a choice based on what you need for energy and enjoyment. And when that happens, there’s no reason for blame and shame about food or your body.

    Well-being Habits

    Becoming a conscious eater is like getting back to nature.

    You’ll get back to eating in a natural rhythm and when stress hits you no longer reach for food to calm and self-soothe.

    Emotions and food are two separate things, but sometimes it seems like they’re the same.

    It is like when you were little and you ate because you were hungry and stopped when you were full. Even when you had something delicious, like your favorite food, you listened to your body and stopped when your body let you know it was full.

    You can get back to listening to your natural rhythms.

    And, if this was not your experience growing up, you can learn how to become a Conscious Eater who is able to listen to her body and follow through!

    When you eat this way, you find what is health-enhancing for you. There isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to nourishing your body. The only perfect diet for you is finding what works well for your body today and doing more of it. And when things change, you’re able to adapt to the changes because you are free to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed.

    Listen to your body.

    There’s a wealth of knowledge about sound basic nutrition. Freely available to you and a lot of well-qualified providers who can support you too.

    Conclusion

    The bottom line is that conscious eating is a simple way to implement the Powerful Calm System, so you no longer need stress eating and emotional eating again!

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    It's your magic wand for stress!

  • 10 Simple Mantras That Stop Negative Thinking And Stress Eating

    10 Simple Mantras That Stop Negative Thinking And Stress Eating

    10 Simple Mantras That Stop Negative Thinking And Stress Eating

    You know that nagging voice your heads that whispers, you need to calm down, stop negative thinking and before you know it, you’re stress eating? 

    It’s the voice that…

    • Doubts that it’s all too much and you won’t ever feel calm.
    • Questions your relationship with yourself and your self-knowledge.
    • Criticizes you and can be downright mean under the veil of being “honest.”

    When you’re struggling stress eating or emotional eating the voice of doubt focuses on what’s not going well and dismisses or ignores what is.

    What if you had a way to calm self-doubt and highlight your successes, no matter how small?

    Developing this skill can change the conversation and transform doubt into powerful 

    How to Stop Stress Eating Right Now

    When you have an answer ready that you can rely on to shift your focus, calm stress and anxiety and change negative thoughts – you have a skill that will serve you well.

    A simple mantra is a shortcut way to connect with yourself. It calms negative thoughts, so that you can be mindful and make choices that matter to you.

    A mantra is a coping skill that’s been around so long because they work!

    It’s nearly impossible to separate thoughts, feelings, perceptions, potential future scenarios, etc. When stress eating enters the picture, the feelings are often a jumble of mixed emotions. Those emotions lead to a big need for you to stop negative thinking!

    Getting out of confusing, conflicting or uncomfortable feelings is easier when you have a tool to compassionately focus your thoughts.  The other benefit is that when you intentionally focus your thoughts, they lead to increased motivation to stay on your path.

    Using a mantra to help you shift your thoughts is one of the easiest ways to stop stress eating. And stopping negative thinking is one of the most important strategies to calm, soothe and refocus your brain to prevent stress eating. 

    The best mantra is one that is meaningful to you and easy to remember, so when you need it, you have it ready.

    When a mantra is precise and concise, it just “fits.” And it’s easy use over and over to bring your stress level back down.

    Mindful living is being aware of what you think, feel and what your intentions are to live the life you want to live. Stress eating or emotional eating, distracts you away from  it.  You can get back in alignment with your needs with this question:

    Are you eating because you’re hungry or you enjoy the taste or are you eating to distract yourself from emotional stress?

    Stress eating or emotional eating will never satisfy an unmet need.

    Mindful living is a dynamic active process. When you slow down and stress lifts you get back to actively choosing your daily eating habits. You’ll grow in your flexibility to change as your needs change.

    You’ll naturally be mindful of eating what you need. 

    What you like might change when you get a chance to slow down and listen to yourself more closely. An effective mantra is one that calms reliably calms and comes back to you naturally, so it’s always there for you.

    Why a mantra to stop negative thinking?

    A mantra becomes a tool which supports you in building a kind and compassionate relationship with yourself. You can take a stand for nurturing yourself with good food, compassion and live mindfully with fulfillment.

    Here are 10 mantras you can use or as a starting point to create one of your own!

    > I am living in the moment, one meal at a time.

    > Peace and kindness support my relationship with my body.

    > I move toward my goals with compassion.

    > I feel balanced as I make choices that nourish me.

    > I listen to my mind, body and heart for what I need in my life.

    > Change requires my time and attention; my reward is contentment.

    > I am mindful and compassionate as I develop the tools I need in my life.

    > I’m cultivating a peaceful relationship with my body.

    > When I move my body, I experience life.

    > I nourish my mind, body and heart with a kind and loving heart.

    Conclusion

    Sometimes we get caught up in complicated tools or strategies and think that they are naturally more effective. But most of the time they’re just confusing and don’t stop negative thinking or stress eating. Simple, clear and easily used strategies and tools, that you use every day are what support you on the path to living mindfully and fulfilling your intentions.

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    5 Minutes to Calm & Clarity Guide

    It's your magic wand for stress!

  • How To Be Peaceful With Food In 3 Easy Steps

    How To Be At Peace With Food In 3 Easy Steps

    how to be peaceful with food

    Food peace through self-compassion gives you what you desire – freedom and accountability.

    Being committed to changing your relationship with food takes a different kind of focus. It’s more connected to what you want while at the same time giving you both grace and limits that are in alignment with your needs.

    Self-compassion is holding yourself accountable without judgement. When you take stock of your relationship with food with neutrality, push yourself when you need to do more and acknowledge your accomplishments when they happen, you’re on the path of food peace.

    To be at peace with food you need self-compassion most when you…

    • are tired of solutions that have you running in circles.
    • know what you want, to stop emotional eating, but it happened again.
    • question if you even know what you want.
    • need to adjust your goals to fit with what you want - not what “they” want.
    • doubt leads you to question your choices.

    While you adjust to this new form of accountability, you’ll have many opportunities to slip back into self-criticism, skepticism and negative thinking about your state.

    In fact, you’ll probably have a chance to practice self-compassion many times a day!

    The good news is that all of these opportunities push you to become even more clear and stronger in your resolve to change your relationship with food and your body.

    And, as you practice, you’ll develop habits that support your changes and self-compassion makes it all easier.

    Self-compassion helps you keep your focus on moving forward.

    Being at peace with food through self-compassion reshapes how you work with yourself, so you know when to push and when to ease up.

    You don’t need to look for balance when you have your own internal barometer to guide you. You adjust as you develop a refined internal awareness of your emotional states.

    Here are three steps to be at peace with food through self-compassion:

    1. Assess what is enough for you.

    When I ask people, this question, what is enough, they usually think in terms of minimums. “Don’t take too much” vs. “Take what you think you need, and you can always have more.”

    Are you in a place where you have enough, love, money, friendship, work challenges and fulfillment, food you enjoy, movement that feels good?

    If you know that there’s more you need in life, the first step is to get specific and identify what it is, so you can develop a plan to get it.

    2. Utilize self-compassion strive for satisfaction.

    Satisfaction isn’t an end point it’s a way of being that is your baseline of contentment.

    Satisfaction in life can only come when how you live your life matches up with your values. Satisfaction is one part of feeling like you’re doing what you need to be doing. You feel good about your life and yourself.

    If you feel incomplete, like there’s something that you want or need in your life, use self-compassion helps to recenter, ask the hard questions of yourself, so you get out of the endless cycle of stress eating to fill a void it can’t possibly fill.

    3. Question what you’re moving toward and make sure you want it.

    Is it what you convinced yourself of to meet others expectations, or it want you know in your heart you want?

    Lots of well-meaning people make suggestions, assuming that you’re on the same page. But are you? Just because your friend is on the diet, she might assume that everyone is on the hunt for the perfect way to eat too. Maybe you are, but your way of getting there is very different.

    Self-compassion is a commitment to yourself is to figure out your needs. Figure out what nourishes you in mind, body and heart. Self-compassion keeps you accountable to yourself and at peace with food.

    What being at peace with food does for you.

    Recognize that if your relationship with food isn’t serving you in the way you had hoped, it can change at any point in your life.

    Being at peace with food transforms your relationship with food. It is dynamic, so that tomorrow is closer to where you need to be.

    Keep moving forward no matter what because it’s your relationship with yourself that matters most!

    Sometimes you need to push yourself, when you’re scared and unsure if the outcome will be better than your current situation. But, when you’re backing yourself with self-compassion and accountability, you have what you need to take a risk.

    Self-compassion allows you to take care of yourself as you change.

    Pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, no matter how content you are at the moment and stepping into the next best thing in your life is what transforming your relationship with yourself is like.

    Conclusion

    When you say “yes,” to yourself you are already creating the space to be at peace with food. Thoughtfully, mindfully, making decisions from your heart, bit by bit, with self-compassion leading you where you need to be!

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    It's your magic wand for stress!

  • It’s Not About The Mashed Potatoes

    It’s not about the mashed potatoes or anything else in this list – it’s about listening to your own voice.

    it's not about the mashed potatoes it's about listening to your own voice

    It’s not about the mashed potatoes or the pie or the rolls or the whatever you enjoy eating.

    It’s not about emotional eating.

    It’s not about stress.

    It’s not about feeling too full.

    It’s not about being hungry.

    It’s not about exercising away the calories.

    It’s not about being bad.

    It’s not about being unworthy.

    It’s not about your childhood.

    It’s not about your poor choices.

    It’s not about your lack of control.

    It’s not about willpower.

    It’s not about finding the reason why.

    It’s not about wishing and hoping.

    It’s not about waiting to be rescued.

    It’s not about rewriting history.

    It’s not about your successes.

    It’s not about your failures.

    It’s not about your any of these things.

    What it’s about is stepping consciously, fully into your life and taking the risk to be different.

    Many people don’t choose this path and do same thing over and over, because it’s safe.

    The big question to answer is, does staying the same cost you what you really want?

    What else is there that really matters?

    Life is too short to sacrifice your happiness and strive for goals that aren’t what you really want or need. 

    Living in alignment with what  you need is the path to fulfillment.

    You can make your life your own by getting inspiration from others and creating something that in new and fit your life. Follow your own path and do what works for you.

    You have to be good with you. You live with yourself in your head 24/7.

    • What’s it like in there?
    • Is it a place you would welcome others to come in for a visit?
    • Do you want your more for yourself?

    Listening to your own voice.

    When you focus on the latest fad diet or workout or meditation trend or the latest stress quick fix, it can make stress build rather than helping to reducing stress. Which in turn can take you further away from what you really want your life to be. In those times when you find yourself stress eating and unconsciously reaching for another handful of chips, it’s confirmation that stress is in control.

    Sensible advice is often lost when you’re desperate for change. And unable to patiently pay closer attention to what you need for more self-awareness.

    Just think, if you allowed yourself to set your intentions and live more mindfully would you be further along than if you chased the latest fad?

    Listening to your own voice takes courage and grit.

    Others in your life might not like it.

    It might mean that they will need to adjust and get used to a more vocal, more honest you. Many people will outright disagree that you’re doing what’s right. Others will see you change and try to convince you that you should follow their advice instead of cultivating your own voice.

    You need to stay the course.

    As long as your path is one of health, self-compassion and in alignment with your intentions, you’re good.

    Are there dreams you want to become reality, but you’re scared?

    Think about how you feel after you’ve earned something rather than receiving it as a gift. Usually people say that their sense of self changes. Every time you learn something new you’re adding to your self-knowledge. This is precious gift.

    When you take a risk you might find that:

    • Challenges make you stronger.
    • You start believing that you can trust yourself.
    • Listening to your mind, body and heart give you the information you need.

    Sometimes you need good information, but most of the time all you need to know is yourself. An intimate knowledge of how you work free from the assumptions, judgments, someone else’s rules. Instead, be curious and experiment and then pay attention to what happens as a result. Do more of what works. That’s the bottom line.

    What if you have the resources to know what you need right at your fingertips?

    What will it take for you to listen to yourself and get started?

    Get started.

    Start making the changes you want to see happen in your life today. It’s all you’ve got in the end.

    Do what you need to do to be healthier, happier and more connected to what you most want in your life today.

    It’s not really about the food or what you weigh or how you look or how many lines are on your face or much cellulite you have or don’t. How much is in your bank account or how much staff you have working for you. These aren’t markers of your value as a human being.

    The stuff above doesn’t elevate your value and valuing them keeps you locked in a battle that you’re never going to win. There will be someone who has more than you and you will find that you compare yourself to them even when you try not to.

    Step into the fullness of your life.

    In the end your life is not about the mashed potatoes.

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    5 Minutes to Calm & Clarity Guide

    It's your magic wand for stress!

  • How To Stop Negative Thoughts That Result in Stress Eating

    what to do when negative thoughts result in stress eating

    I would bet that most people view stress as a negative. For my clients who struggle with stress eating that’s especially true.

    The human mind has a funny way of making things worse. When you feel that it’s going to be hard to succeed, it usually is. I’ll show how your negative thoughts manifest and I’ll give you steps to deal with them to prevent the problem. For food not to be a coping tool, you need to change those thoughts from negative to neutral. Viewing them clearly as they are and looking forward towards your future goals is the answer.

    A negative thought is not the same thing as a negative attitude.

    Most of us have experienced our share of stressful events in our lives. These can be work related or personal. The stress that comes with these negative events are often labeled as being negative thoughts, but they are both.

    Your mind can easily conjure up a scary image of what could happen if this or that happens, etc. This picture iis in your head and says; “if that’s true then I’m going to need something to eat.” And, that’s what makes it so difficult. It’s a coping mechanism.

    1. How negative thoughts work.

    So how does this work? How does the mind do that? Your mind creates a scenario that could occur if that negative thought were true. Let’s say you have been thinking negative thoughts about being fired from your job. Your could create a scenario in which you lose your home, you don’t have much money, and you become homeless. As soon as the thought comes to mind an image of what could happen appears and pressure bullds.

    Your blood starts to leave your brain. It flows down to the rest of your body, kind of like you’re a living zombie. More likely you’re not a zombie. But when you can’t think clearly because stress is flooding the areas of the brain that are associated with stress. This is what it’s like when you are try to cope with stress by eating – you are not really thinking straight. Now it’s time for coping mechanism number two-food.

    2. Food is security.

    What’s the second coping mechanism that your mind uses to cope with stress? It uses food. When you think negative thoughts about being fired from your job, the connection with food leads a desire for food. You see your mind’s picture of what could happen to you and it leads you straight to comfort food. What happens then is that instead of thinking about the future, or the present, you’re focused on how much comfort food can fulfill those feelings or needs for security because of all this stress.

    3. Food is distraction.

    The third and final coping mechanism that your mind uses to cope with stress is to eat. That’s why we see that when people suffer from stress eating, they eat comfort food-because it calms them down and takes away the stress. But the problem with eating this way because it does not resolve the issue of stress any more than rubbing a sore knee does because you still have a sore knee, only now you’ve added food to your list. The issue remains.

    Negative thoughts and stress eating solutions.

    So, how do you make this not happen to you? Here are some helpful suggestions:

    1. List your stressors.

    Make a list of all your stressors. Once the list is complete, divide them into the ones that are within your control and the ones that are out of your control. If there are any items on the list that you feel are in your control, then write down how you would try to change these things if they were yours to change. Next to each item that’s out of your control write down what it could be if it were in your control. For example, If the only thing out of your control is the weather, then write down what you can do to prepare for this. But if it’s something else, like your boss is a micro-manager, then make a list of things you can change within your work environment to make it better.

    2. List your negative thoughts.

    Write down the negative thoughts that you have most often. Once these are written down, look at them and ask yourself what they truly mean. Is there a reason why you’re thinking this? Is it true?

    Think of a time in the past when you faced similar stress and how you dealt with it. This will give you insight into what you’re thinking and why. Write down these things in your journal so that when negative thoughts come into your mind, you can look at it and ask yourself, “Is this true?”

    3. Challenge your negative thoughts.

    Finally, don’t let negative thoughts about something outside of your control go unchallenged. A positive way to deal with them is to challenge them and say to yourself, “if it were true then this would occur.” For example: “If I dropped dead tomorrow then all my friends would say they will miss me.” When this is truly true (and it might not always be) then the mind will believe it and do everything in its power to make sure that really happens.

    Conclusion

    So, remember, negative thoughts are not the same as negative attitudes. One is an attitude; one is a thought. But they are related to each other. So, if you have the attitude, “I’m negative all the time”, then that will lead you to think thoughts that are negative about things that may or may not be true. A habit of positive thinking will help you to avoid putting these negative thoughts into your mind which could lead you to harmful coping behaviors like comfort eating.

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