Think through that last experience when you ate for emotional reasons – not feasting for joy, but things like stress, sadness, grief, loneliness, frustration, disappointment, etc. Identify the feeling or experience.
How long did you give yourself to get caught up in it, stew over it, or drive you to food and other comforters? Did it linger for an hour? A day? Longer?
We do this – we let the feeling dictate our mood for as long as we feel it. It’s natural to feel it until you don’t anymore. Yet if we allow it to linger, it colors everything around us and then expands to affect our processes, views on life, our spirituality, and beliefs. Ever get caught up in it? I did, and it took so long to shake it. Worse, it didn’t even help.
Emotions and thoughts will pass through our awareness if we let them. Unless we stop them by grabbing onto them, stew over or nurse them with why they should not have happened to us, they often pass through in about 90 seconds.
I know, I thought that was pretty fast, too, but if we allow ourselves to acknowledge and experience them when they present themselves and do what we can to address the situation, they keep flowing.
When the feelings are the result of a wound, the wound needs healing. Ignoring a wound, hoping it will just go away on its own, is one way we capture feelings. We do everything we can to avoid experiencing the wound itself. This is how addictions begin. Whatever we choose – food, alcohol, drugs, anger, sex, control, etc. soothes us in some way, and that’s a lot easier than facing the wound. So we stuff down the wound, and when we do, it goes inward and doesn’t heal. Years later we wonder why we can’t stop eating our go-to food. The wound doesn’t go away until we heal it.
Think of it like a river. A river moves, and as long as there is no barrier or dam, it keeps flowing. We can experience the river by sticking our toes in it, swimming or wading through it, or simply observing as it flows by. Sometimes, we skip rocks across it, but it keeps moving.
However, if we create a dam or reservoir, we can trap the water. Ever looked at water that was dammed up without any flow? It gets stagnant and goes a bit putrid. Without the flow – or even being stirred, it cannot pick up more oxygen, and what oxygen it has seeps out. When the dam is broken, the water will flow again. In the process, it replenishes its life and can rejoin the river.
Let the emotion flow. Notice those feelings, give them your attention so you can learn from them, but release them rather than letting them take over your day – OR your food plan. Make the best choices you can during a tough time, then return to plan as quickly as you can.
When you’re ready, healing the wound will create and replenish your life. If you need help, we can talk.