Emotional eating, stress eating and overeating all happen when we are disconnected from ourselves—out of touch in some way with what we are feeling or needing or with how to respond to those things. I’m a strong believer that we are at our best and at our most powerful when we are connected with ourselves. It’s only then that we are really able to access our wisdom about what we need and how to take care of ourselves.
Stress, multitasking, not getting enough sleep, too much stimulation in our environment—these are just some of the things that can pull us out of connection with ourselves. These distractions can make it hard to hear the signals we send ourselves about what we need, whether we are hungry, or how we are feeling.
When we get disconnected, it’s important to make the space and the time to connect back up again. Unfortunately, during times of disconnection, our frantic thoughts often tell us that that simply isn’t possible. Anxiety tells us unhelpful things–that we can’t possibly stop, that we’ll get to it later, and that it is somehow better to just ignore ourselves and keep moving.
This is exactly the mindset that will build on itself, that leaves many of us trying to make up for unmet needs with snacking or food rewards or with binge eating. And then—of course—we feel more overwhelmed, more out of control, and our frantic brain might even tell us that now we REALLY can’t afford the time and energy to stop and reconnect.
Here’s a tip for short-circuiting that vicious cycle.
An important strategy is learning how to get out of your head. When we are anxious, our thinking may tell us that the answer is continuing to “think” our way out of the situation. The problem is, our thoughts are fueled by emotions and stress and they just tend to get us in deeper—and the more we keep thinking in this pattern, the more disconnected we tend to become from the present moment, from ourselves, and from our physical body. The tip I’m describing helps you get out of your head and reconnect with your body.
Here’s what I want you to do. Place your hand over your heart. Try to position it so that you can feel your heart beating or so that you can feel your chest rise and fall with each breath you take. Place your other hand on your abdomen. As you breathe, concentrate on filling your lungs as completely as you can. Believe it or not, your lungs extend all the way down to almost the bottom of your rib cage. Can you feel where that is? Imagine good clean air filling your lungs all the way to their bottom. Feel your abdomen and your chest rise and fall with each breath.
Breathe in and breathe out. As you breathe, focus on you. Not your thoughts, not your schedule, but the you inside your body. Scan through your body for tension. Shrug your shoulders, wiggle your toes. Breathe in. Breathe out. Ask yourself what your physical self needs right now—a stretch? A change of posture? Water? Ask yourself whether you are hungry or full or tired. What emotions are you feeling? Check in with yourself. Note the answer.
To end this brief check-in, stretch out as long and tall as you can. Stretch long and feel how far you can reach. Take a deep breath. Now do what you can to give yourself what you need. That’s it. It’s simple and it takes about thirty seconds, two minutes at the most, but this quick check-in can be a powerful tool in helping you stay balanced and out of overwhelm.
Take good care,