Every week or so, I’ll post a Q for You–a topic to write about that can help you understand your eating behavior better and start healing your relationship with food. Today’s: Do you eat to ease anxiety? What else can you do instead?
I DO, I DO! Or did–before I found other ways to soothe that terrible anxious buzzing in the pit of my stomach. I hate to admit it, but eating did used to work for me. The taste of and action of chewing and swallowing a big bowl of cereal, a bag of cookies, or a bunch of greasy fries would distract me from any other emotions or physical sensations. It would numb things–make things easier to forget or push down. But that means you never actually deal with anything. You put it off, put it off, put it off, and start suffering at work, in relationships, in your self-esteem. Not to mention the toll all that extra food takes on your physical body.
Now, there are three main things I do when I feel that familiar fearful or simply uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach. Food will probably always be the first thing my mind goes to, but more often than not, I choose these things instead–and whaddyaknow, they work!
1. Pilates or working out. Calms the mind and body. Helps me put whatever feelings I’m having in perspective. Actually burns off extra stress hormones, too!
2. Writing. Even just jotting down a line or two about what I’m worried over can help. Getting it outside of your mind seems to relieve some of the pressure.
3. Making a to-do list. Taking action helps me feel less anxious and more secure in my work and personal life. Worried about money? I make an appointment with myself to review my checking account and budget. Feeling weird about work? I make a very explicit to-do list that I can tick off throughout the day. That way I have a sense of accomplishment and a strong structure to help me feel more focused.
What three things can you do to ease anxiety that have nothing to do with food?
Q for You: Are You Too Focused on Weight?