Managing emotions is really a child’s play, which we adults unlearn to learn.
Let’s take a situation where an infant has been fed well and on time by his/her mother, now no matter how much you coax him/her to have a bite of a delicious meal, the child will refuse to have it.
He/she will accept the offer of your delicious meal, only when his tummy signals to be empty.
Whereas we adults work the other way round 🙂
Reality check –
Our emotions should be connected to the needs of our body, so that we can nourish it with food, water and other supplements, as and when required.
But today’s fast paced life is filled with stress and anxiety, which leaves little room for conscious thinking (focus) as when food is required by our tummy, rather than we connect our emotions with our mind, means if we like a food item then we’ll have it doesn’t matter whether we’re hungry or not.
So precisely we end up following the call of our emotional unstoppable mind (may be under social influence/ lack of awareness).
To manage the high stress level, people are using emotional eating as a (comfort) strategy to cope with our negative feelings which can might make us feel happy for the time being (as we get our choice of food).
Emotional eating is a form of disordered eating and is defined as “an increase in food intake in response to negative emotions.
All the more particularly, emotional eating would qualify as a type of emotion-focused coping, which endeavours to minimize, regulate and prevent emotional distress.
Not only is emotional eating a poor way to cope, but those individuals who frequently use emotional eating to cope with social or psychological stress are at an increased risk of developing eating disorders. Emotional eaters are at an especially high risk of developing binge-eating disorder.
Impact of emotional eating
- Unconscious behavior
- Feeling unable to manage difficult emotions
- Social Influence
- Low confidence
- Feeling of emptiness /Loneliness
Alternatives to emotional eating / Steps to mindful eating
- When you feel depressed or lonely – meet your friends, spend time with your family, play with your dog or cat, or look at a favourite photograph.
- When you feel anxious – shift / elevate your energy level by listening to songs, or maybe you can dance on your favourite number, squeezing a stress ball, or go for a brisk walk.
- When you’re exhausted/tired – treat yourself with a hot cup of tea, take a bath, light some scented candles.
- When you feel bored – read a good book, watch a comedy show, explore the outdoors, or turn to an activity/hobby you enjoy.
Mindful eating is a practice that develops your awareness of eating habits and enable you to stop between your triggers and your actions. Most emotional eaters feel weak over their food cravings. When the urge to eat hits, you feel an almost unbearable tension that demands to be fed, right now. Because you’ve tried to resist in the past and failed, you believe that your willpower just isn’t up to snuff. But the truth is that you have more power over your cravings than you think.