Feeling your feelings

Old 01-25-2015, 01:31 PM
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Default Feeling your feelings

Supposedly rather than using food to self-medicate you're supposed to actually feel your feelings.

Well what if you're eating because you're upset because of real-life circumstances that are difficult to change quickly. Maybe you're upset because you have a low-paying job, or because someone you love is slowly killing themselves with alcohol, or because of some other circumstance that it's difficult to change?

If you're just supposed to soak in your misery and do nothing to alleviate it, how does that ultimately help you? I can sit there and feel miserable about ____ and not do anything to make the feelings go away but I hardly see how that could be helpful, especially if the cause of the feelings is something beyond your control.

Is the key finding something other than food to self-medicate with that's not destructive to health?
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Old 01-25-2015, 02:09 PM
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Good question: what ARE you supposed to do? I'd love to just start smoking cigarettes again instead of 'eating my feelings' in those situations. But I can't do that and not harm my health.

Some people reduce anxiety by running. Praying? Relaxation tapes or self-hypnosis? If you go to a legitimate hypnotist, they can get you started with some relaxing self-hypnotism techniques.

Once the anxiety is under control, then you can concentrate on rejecting food as 'self-medication.' But I agree - you need to have strategies to help with anxiety, worry, depression, etc.

(Some people use alcohol to deal with those feelings - imagine using alcohol to deal with worry about someone who is using alcohol for that and has gone off the deep end! What irony...)
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Old 01-25-2015, 06:22 PM
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I have been dealing with this exact issue. I have a lot of different factors in my life right now that are causing me stress or heartache. Since I have consciously decided to stop eating my feelings, I am working on finding alternatives.

When I get anxious or stressed, I try to exercise, create art, or tackle productive tasks. I go outside for a walk, write in my journal, or clean my house. I also have been trying to get back into my spiritual practice, so do whatever you need to do to bring that into your life.

The four elements that need balancing are emotional, mental, social, and spiritual. If one or more of these elements are out of balance, we will feel the hard emotions and lack in our lives. So I try to feel what it is I'm feeling... am I tired? lonely? overwhelmed?... and address each issue.

Sometimes with these changes we need to practice extreme self care. If you're tired, sleep. Lonely? Reach out to a friend (heck even to a forum). Overwhelmed? Start with a small but helpful task. Do things that make you feel good, like taking care of your appearance and honoring inspirations and expressions as they arise.

Good luck... I agree, it's no easy task. It becomes easier with time though
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Old 01-26-2015, 06:03 PM
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I think part of my problem is that the other things that people do to relax are so often better with food. For example when I first started gaining weight it involved reading some great books while noshing on sandwiches. So I can do these other types of things but I feel like something is missing from the equation because I'm used to food being there too in addition to the other activities.
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Old 01-26-2015, 09:29 PM
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In 12-Step recovery, they remind you of H.A.L.T.--never let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired--that's when we are at our weakest and most vulnerable to temptation. I try to keep that always in mind.

When I feel tempted, writing about my feelings, listening to music, playing with my animals--Sadie Sue, Mouse, Rosabella or Samson, talking with my spouse or another friend, reading, drinking water, moving, getting out of the house or just getting out of the kitchen--all these can help. I also tell myself that I will NOT die from hunger before my next meal or snack! If I wake up hungry in the night, sleeping on my stomach seems to help too. Vicki
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:25 PM
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Default maybe we can obsess about exercise instead?

I guess we sometimes take to food only because food is there, like when smoking was not bad for you and we would smoke away when feeling crappy. Now that smoking is outlawed we eat. But if we eat carrots and celery then that would not be so bad right?

I don't know, I am figuring this all out as you are.
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