A hard day at work, stressful traffic, or a breakup can conjure up visions of ice cream and wine dancing in our heads. Then again, a promotion, vacation, or a milestone readily calls forth the need for cake and champagne.
Emotional eating is socially acceptable, sometimes even encouraged, but there are negative effects. When the food and drinks you consume don't actually feed the feelings that are starving for attention, you will remain hungry even when your belly is full.
As an advocate for Health at Every Size, this has nothing to do with the measurements of a waistline and everything to do with bringing to light how we are conditioned to feed feelings with items that simply cannot nourish them. Simply put, your body gets fed with food; your emotions get fed with attention and self-care. So why do we continue to try to feed depression with pizza or joy with cake? Sure, the answer can be found in neuroscience about dopamine, pleasure receptors, and calorie-rich foods.
But let's think about it from a psycho-social place for the moment.
We do not give ourselves credit for being the sentient beings that we are when we attempt to shelve a feeling by effectively blocking our way to communicate. Speech, crying, laughter, or shouting is impossible when you've decided to feed your feeling with food. The doughnut becomes a pacifier to stop our crying and we've diminished our ability to fully exercise our right to our feelings.
As an extreme emotion rises to the surface this week, take time to revel in the fullness of that feeling. Do not starve your psyche as you stuff your belly. Your psyche needs nourishment, too, and you certainly should not have to starve.
4 Ways to Feed Your Feelings
- Frustration craves camaraderie, so meet up with someone to take a walk and talk shit
- Celebrate a success by taking time to write thank you notes to the people who helped you
- Depression needs nourishment in the form of introspection, so get weird and create like a kid
- Breakups depend on finding newness in your mind and body, so dance it out or get on the open road
Very special thanks to Brandon Arnold for his accompanying illustration. More of Brandon's work can be seen www.brandonandbrandon.tumblr.com