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Food plays a major role in our lives, and our bodies can never have full functionality without it. Food has the temporary ability to reduce stress, anxiety, and sadness by creating happiness that brings comfort. No wonder a bigger percentage of overeating is more connected to emotions than to hunger.
Developing a good healthy relationship with food is essential for living a balanced life, and requires having healthy boundaries in relating to food as a source of nutritional supply and energy instead of interacting with it as a stress reliever or a monster to avoid.
The body is equipped with an internal system that signals when we need to eat and when we need to stop eating.
Using questions for self-evaluation is vital:

  1. Why I am eating?
  2. Is it because I am hungry or bored?
  3. Is it because I feel stressed or sad?

Connection between moods and food
Monitoring our thought system is paramount in reducing emotional/stress related eating triggers. This is an invitation to understand what’s going on in our thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
We are also able to think about food as an important source of nutrition and not an agent of relieving stress or an enemy that we need to fight through denial.
“Many eating problems are not really about food. They are about self-soothing. Self-soothing techniques are methods to calm and relax your body and mind, as well as sooth your nerves.” 50 ways to soothe yourself without food – Susan Albers, Psy.D.
Therefore, identifying and utilizing none food related soothing techniques can be a positive mood booster. Here are some techniques that you might find to be helpful:

  1. Journal your thoughts and feelings.
  2. Engage in physical exercise.
  3. Listen to soothing music.
  4. Engage in meditation.
  5. Talk to someone.
  6. Find humor around you and share a joke.
  7. Read an Interesting book or watch a movie.
  8. Be your own masseuse

The power to keep a balance between food and mood is in your hands. Practice tiny steps daily, and soon you will be able to cope with change and the unexpected.
©Lucy Paynter
Mental Health Wellness Ambassador
Middlesex Community College

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