Emotions are a part of life, and why we must learn to address it through compassion and self-care. Here’s how you can reconnect with your emotions that doesn’t involve food, and find ways to be at peace.
BY: SIMI BOTIC
Do you ever eat or restrict food to avoid, numb out, sooth, or distract from uncomfortable emotions?
For some, this happens because they’re trying to avoid feeling any strong emotions that may derail them from their comfort zone.
In her book “Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything”, Geneen Roth says,
‘Imagine not being frightened by any feeling. Imagine knowing that nothing will destroy you. That you are beyond any feeling, any state. Bigger than. Vaster than. That there is no reason to use drugs because anything a drug could do would pale in comparison to knowing who you are. To what you can understand, live, be, just by being with what presents itself to you in the form of the feelings you have…’
If you’re up for it, I invite you to sit with that quote for a moment today.
Imagine not being frightened by your feelings, trusting that they won’t destroy you, and understanding that they are a gateway to knowing yourself on a deeper level. It’s such a simple, powerful truth, right?
You’re safe to feel your feelings.
But sometimes, feelings feel so scary, which is why there can be a lot of shame and guilt wrapped up in emotional eating. Here’s the thing: some level of emotional eating is part of your everyday life.
In fact, it’s OK for food to bring you pleasure and comfort. It’s OK for it to help you celebrate. It’s OK for it to soothe you in you time of need.
It’s OK, and you’re OK.
In order to dispel the guilt and shame surrounding the unrealistic idea that you ‘should never emotionally eat,’ we need to start addressing emotional self-care that has nothing to do with food. There are two ways to do this:
- Proactive self care
- Emotional response
Proactive self-care are the ways we care for ourselves, day in and day out. They help us feel cared for not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. They help us manage stress, build meaningful and fulfilling lives, and experience overall wellness.
Some examples of proactive practices include:
- Eating intuitively – listening to your body’s needs and honoring those on a regular basis
- Moving your body for fun
- Prioritizing relationships with people you care about
- Unplugging from social media on a regular basis
- Rest, including quality sleep and relaxation
- Incorporating play and adventure in daily life
- Engaging in a regular spiritual practice
- Creating boundaries that allow you to minimize overwhelm
- Curate a supportive environment and space in your home
- Regular emotional processing and support – with a friend, partner, therapist, or coach
Ask yourself: how often do you proactively care for yourself on a regular basis? Where is there room to grow for you in this area? Once you’ve reflected on your proactive self-care practices, you can take a look at how you typically respond to your emotions.
Your emotional response is when you feel something uncomfortable, and something that you likely want to stop feeling as soon as possible. But, it’s so important to remember that our feelings aren’t going anywhere – no matter how many brownies we do or don’t eat. A brownie might give you a momentary break from the feeling, but it will be there when you finish waiting to be felt.
- This is a great time to remind yourself that you’re safe to feel your feelings by:
- Asking yourself, ‘what is this uncomfortable feeling I’m having right now?’ and ‘what feels scary about this feeling?’
- Creating a safe space to feel it (such as in the shower, walk outside, bathroom stall, or under the covers in your bed)
- Letting it out (cry, breathe, scream)
- Emoting and processing it by journaling, praying, talking to a friend, or sharing with a professional you’re working with for emotional support
- separate feeling from facts — your feelings are valid but they are not necessarily rooted in facts (i.e. you might feel like all your friends hate you when that is not actually the truth)
Ask yourself: how do you respond to emotions and care for yourself emotionally in the moment when a difficult or uncomfortable emotion comes up? Where is there room to grow in this area?
Remember, your emotions are just a way for you to connect and know yourself more deeply.
There is nothing to fear, because it’s just simply you.
Adapted from the original article.
Simi Botic is a certified holistic health coach, speaker, and the author of Letting Go Of Leo: How I Broke Up With Perfection a memoir about overcoming her decades long struggle with feeling like she wasn’t enough. Through her work, she helps women all over the world ditch perfection and heal their relationships with food and body image so they can begin to embrace their beautifully imperfect lives. She made you a free guide, The First Step To Breaking Up With Perfection which you can grab here. To learn more, visit her at www.simibotic.com and @simibotic.