Some people seem to respond to much of life in a laid back way. Others become anxious and stressed more easily. If you have developed good coping skills, then you’re most likely the laid back, relaxed type. But when you react to stress with food, you may become frustrated even more with the unpleasant side effect of consuming that extra food.
If you happen to be the one who easily stresses and worries, here are a few tips to use instead of always reaching for food:
- Turn to good friends or close family members who are willing to let you discuss upsetting or frustrating situations without judgement.
- Make a list of the issues that are in your control and the ones that are not. Don’t spend time on the ones out of your control like other people’s behavior. Spend your energy focusing on problem solving the ones you have some control over like your relationship with your spouse.
- Anytime you’re anxious or worried about a particular upcoming event, focus your energy on preparing for it as much as possible. Knowing that you’ve done all that you can do to get ready is calming and reassuring.
- Make sleep a priority. Everything seems catastrophic when we are sleep-deprived.
- Add some exercise that you enjoy. Exercise is a great stress reliever, but if you don’t enjoy the process, it will be tough to begin. Whether you choose walking your dog, gardening, bike riding or swimming, pick something(s) that will keep you engaged.
- Decide on another outlet that you can channel your frustrations and worries. Journaling, music, meditation, art (even coloring), working out and socializing with friends are just a few.
Because eating when stressed does make you feel better temporarily, it provides a positive feedback. But unfortunately, it can also cause weight gain and feelings of shame and guilt. As with every new behavior, begin slowly and add a little each day. And know that some days you will eat in response to stress and that is okay. You are human, so strive for progress, not perfection.
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