We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions ~Brene Brown
We are conditioned to believe that food can comfort us. Ice cream gets us through a break-up, and mac and cheese and mashed potatoes remind us of home. News Flash— Food does not comfort us. Food just sits on a plate, with no ability to reach out and care. In fact, food does not care about us at all. We do not need comfort food to survive something upsetting.Food solves for physical hunger, not emotional distress. I am always curious about people in my life who lose their appetite or forget to eat when they are going through a hard time. This helps me to understand that there are other ways to cope with difficult times, outside of food.
I encourage my clients to consider what does food, or other vices really solve long-term? Often times we find overeating makes us feel uncomfortable, bloated, low energy, gain weight, and it actually makes us less alive. See when we turn to food to numb us, or change our state, we are not allowing our true emotions to come up. We dull them by overeating. Or in other examples, drinking and shopping to excess. When we feel all of our feelings, including the intense upsetting ones, it allows them to pass through. To be fully alive in the present moment, we have to be willing to be with what is, even if what is hurts.
Brene Brown teaches us that we cannot selectively numb emotions. This means that if we are numbing out sadness with overeating, then we are also numbing out emotions like peace and love that can also show up during difficult times. Allow yourself to feel the full extent of the human experience, by leaning into what is. If you struggle with this, it is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to a therapist or coach to help you process these feelings, instead of turning to something outside of yourself that has negative consequences.
Instead of rummaging through the pantry the next time you are in emotional distress, ask yourself “What do I really need to help me get through this right now? What would really comfort me? True comfort can come from a hug from a loved one, a phone call from a dear friend, a visit from someone in your community. Connection is comfort.
Many of my clients struggle to ask for what they need from loved ones and find it easier to turn to food, but this just extends the suffering. Ask for what you need, as most people are happy to help and feel good doing it. Don’t rob them of that honor. Conversely when you are feeling down, it may be counterintuitive, but offering to help someone else, can help you too.
Find comfort in things that don’t have a negative net consequence for you. Hangovers, weight gain, and little money in your bank account just cause more stress. The mind management tools I teach coupled with the ability to process any feeling can change your life. If you, or someone you know struggles to in this area, or any others area that I have touched on in previous blogs, please reach out to learn more@ http://bit.ly/2rD8YZk.