Are you an emotional eater? Have you ever considered from where your emotions originate? Our emotions are triggered by our THINKING. Most adults do not realize how many “thinking errors” we have daily. Our negative thoughts result in negative emotions and subsequent negative behaviors (self-soothing through food, for example.) This is known as emotional eating.
So what is a person to do? A simplistic, but easy statement to follow is “a negative emotion is a cue to stop and THINK.” When we interpret or view situations negatively our emotions will be triggered accordingly. For example, you are stuck in rush hour traffic on your way to work because there is an accident up ahead. Our first reaction is to get irritated/ upset/ angry. These emotions can be triggers to emotional eating so we want to learn to reduce our negative emotional reactions. To do this we will look at our thinking. If we are thinking “Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I always (exaggeration- a “thinking error) get stuck in traffic?” Or “Why can’t these idiots learn to drive?” We will most likely find ourselves in a disturbed emotional state; experiencing a negative emotion.
Then you remember the simplistic (but not easy to execute) statement of “a negative emotion is a cue to stop and think.” Ask yourself, “how can I interpret this situation differently to reduce my negative emotions?” There are several healthy ways to interpret the situation differently to reduce your emotional reaction. You can think, “It is unfortunate that I am stuck in this traffic, but I am fortunate that I’m not the person involved in the accident.” Or “I am grateful to be stuck in rush hour traffic because it means that I have the luxury of owning a vehicle and the privilege of a job.”
Learning a new way of thinking is difficult and I liken it to learning to write with your non-dominate hand. It does not come naturally and you will want to revert back to your old way of thinking. Fortunately, changing your thinking IS possible and I will share the secret of how to do it: Practice, patience and hard work.
Ugh. You were hoping for Pixie Dust, weren’t you?
Progress Not Perfection
There is no magic potion, no short-cut, no special formula. Just good old fashion practice, patience, and hard work. Do not be discouraged if you struggle initially (or for a while!) The struggle is worth it. And remember, all you are aiming for is progress, not perfection.