Food as a Mood Dope: Health Implications and How to Stop Eating Your Stress
Many people eat stress in order to experience a sense of satisfaction in a situation they cannot control. However, this path can lead to serious trouble for the body.
One of the most common stress management techniques is eating. Sometimes, instead of finding a way to solve a problem, we start eating. This is largely due to the fact that food can actually alleviate some of the symptoms of stress in the short term, such as anxiety, sleep deprivation, and mood changes. Anastasia Kaitukova, a psychologist, author of transformational games, founder of the Center for Modern Psychology and organizer of the All-Russian Self-Development Forum for Women, told the Inc-News portal what serious health consequences this approach is fraught with and how to stop eating your stress.
Why do we eat stress? We often use food as a mood booster. However, some people binge stress much more often than others. Why is this happening? Let's try to figure it out.
The effect of "pleasure"
Every time we eat something, our brain releases dopamine. This hormone causes a feeling of pleasure and calms the nervous system. That is why we eat stress - to experience a sense of satisfaction with a situation that we ourselves cannot control. When we eat beautiful and tasty food, our body also releases serotonin, which is known as the "hormone of happiness."
When we experience stress, levels of the hormone cortisol also change. It raises the level of glucose and promotes it through the tissues as a source of energy, which just motivates us to eat. That is, our body begins to prepare for high loads, and food gives us additional energy.
If you delve into psychoanalysis, we can say that a person who seizes stress got this habit at an early stage. This is an oral-passive personality type (there is a version that the reason for this is early separation from the mother). Such people are passive and dependent on the opinions of others. He experiences any stress through jamming, that is, through the mouth. Why do some eat stress while others don't? Such a person is fixed at the oral stage, this is a trauma, it is important to work through it.
How to stop feeding your stress?
A one-time denial attempt will fail. It is almost impossible to overcome such a habit by sheer force of will. There are many ways to stop the seizure process. The effectiveness of each of them may depend on the specific case, mood and other factors. However, the following tips can be a starting point for a healthier, stress-free life.
1. Notice When You Eat
The first step is to recognize when you start to eat. Learning to distinguish between real hunger and food cravings is key to dealing with stress eating. Start writing a food diary and work on your conditioning. Replace "snack time" with everyday things like taking a short walk, having a pleasant phone call, to-do list, or reading a book.
2. Try meditation
Meditation is a process that can be carried out inside your head, allowing you to become aware and accept your thought processes. Some studies have shown that meditation can help manage stress without the help of additional resources such as food or alcohol. Therefore, until you try, I can not bury your ability to meditate - you never know which method is the most effective for you.
3. Ask yourself: "What do I want?"
When we experience very strong emotions, our logical abilities can be impaired. Asking yourself frequent questions about what you want and need can help you replace stress-eating with stress-positive action. Stop blaming yourself.
4. Find alternative ways to relax
In fact, eating can technically be one way to relax. Try to find other ways to relax that can replace the jam.
5. Never skip breakfast
Breakfast is the main meal of the day and will keep your glucose levels at optimal levels throughout the day. Never skip - it will give you the necessary boost of energy for the day and minimize the desire to resort to eating under stress.
6. Ask for help
Finally, once you have problems with stress eating, give yourself permission to seek help. Talk about your problems with loved ones or consult a specialist (for example, a psychologist). Another way to get help is to sign up for a stress management or eating management group session. In any case, if you're really interested in fighting stress-eating, there are plenty of ways to become healthier and happier without throwing food at yourself as a "stress reliever."
In conclusion, eating is one of the most common stress management strategies. In addition to changes in hormonal levels, the effects of pleasure and relaxation, jamming is often associated with a lack of life resources, including social support. Do not forget that we can cope with stress only when we do not turn to past bad habits, but strive to solve the tasks assigned to us more effectively.