Stress. A word we are all familiar with. Stress may be described as a general sense of feeling overwhelmed but when it comes to its relation to emotional eating, stress may be better described as experiencing chronic distressing or negative emotions. Whether related to work, family, relationships, or health, your stress stems from intense emotions that most likely are being suppressed, ignored, or poorly handled.
As an emotional overeater, feeling stressed can be a major trigger for compulsive overeating and binge eating. This is a temporary fix to make you feel better because food is being used as a distraction, and once you start focusing on food, you stop focusing on your feelings. However, when you rely on this quick fix method, your stress isn’t being released. Rather, it’s being bottled up and suppressed which means, it’s not going anywhere! Your stress then manifests itself in your body and is at the root of your emotional eating.
While many of us have learned to deal with emotions, and subsequently stress, in this way, there’s another way – a healthier way! Emotional eaters, in particular, need to learn to release stress instead of bottling it up inside.
Below are 4 techniques that you can use to start releasing stress from your body.
If you are looking to address your emotional eating, I encourage you to try these out. They may feel strange at first, but try each of them a few times and see which techniques work for you.
1. Yell into a pillow
Yes, yell into a pillow – and as loudly as you can! You may want to hold back because you think someone might hear you, but don’t. Pillows absorb a lot more noise than you might think. Alternatively, you can get a foam bat and hit a pillow. Put your full body into it, and don’t be afraid to make noise!
If you uncertain or uncomfortable with trying these, it may be easier to learn how to do this with a stress management counsellor who can help guide you through this process.
2. Write a letter
If a specific person is causing you stress, write a letter addressed to that person. Don’t worry, you’re not actually going to give it to them! But write it as if you were going to send it to them and make sure to express all your feelings in the letter. After you’re done, read it out loud and see how you feel. This should release some of your feelings and reduce the intensity of your emotions.
3. Talk to somebody
Pick up the phone and call somebody you trust. If you call somebody who is judgmental, you are just going to feel worse, so choose who you call carefully. Talking to someone about how you are feeling will help to release and lessen the intensity of your feelings.
Having someone listen to you also validates your feelings and makes you feel accepted, understood and loved. So having someone listen has a mood-boosting effect which will lessen the intensity of your stress and negative emotions.