Eating when you feel anxious or stressed doesn’t mean you need to change the eating. Eating is the sign, the symptom. Address the anxiety or the stress first. Anxiety and stress come from thinking about something, something you don’t want to happen, or don’t want to face, or feel you don’t have control over. It’s generated by a thought. Anxiety/stress come from a thought. The thought you hold is creating the anxiety, the stress, before it happens. It’s in the future. Notice the thought that is bringing up the anxiety. For example, “I am so tired, I just want to rest, to sleep, but I can’t because I haven’t done enough today, I haven’t produced enough. If I stop to rest, I will be seen as lazy.”
Once you notice the thought associated with the feeling, lean into it as opposed to resisting it by eating food. Food is a temporary means to avoid the uncomfortableness that is generated by the thought. Leaning into it instead of resisting it is the way to face it, deal with it, let it pass. Lean into it by sitting with the thought, (ie. I am not producing and therefore lazy), breathing and letting the feelings come up. The more you stay the sooner they will soften and pass. Food is a way to bury, numb or an attempt to hide the uncomfortableness brought on by the thought. So don’t address the eating, that is not the source, again it is the symptom. Notice you desire to eat when stressed or anxious then address that. Instead of taking time to find food and eat, take time to let the feeling come up-give it “air time” as though it is a radio station. Stay on that station instead of attempting to change the station with food. As the feelings come up, trace them back to the thought that birthed them. Be curious about the thoughts, friend them as a teacher, wondering what they can teach or why there is fear around them or why so you feel uncomfortable or why would you want to numb out from them? Sitting with them instead of burying them in food could offer some insight, insight that can set you free. A little discomfort now can open the door to endless possibilities of joy later. We are free when we face the things that make us feel uncomfortable, our fears, our stories we tell ourselves.
Lastly, change the perception of the thing you are thinking about that is generating the uncomfortable feelings. How can you think of it in a way that will serve you? As in the example I gave, “I feel the tiredness in my body, it is telling me it is time to rest.” This is not easy. It takes attention, effort and a willingness to be still, be quiet, to listen. It requires the ability to sit with the discomfort. The discomfort is the sign we are drifting out of our comfort zone. It can be the most challenging thing we do in this life.
The blessings, the magic, the learning are on the outer edge of our comfort zone.