The holiday period can be a trigger for emotional hunger, but there are different ways that can distract and direct you on the right path.
Emotional hunger is one of many ways to deal with difficult situations. There are those who paint; those who go in for sports; those who get angry and cry; and those who eat. While it sounds like a cliche of a romantic comedy, there are times when, out of homesickness, all you want is to eat.
You eat and immediately feel better, but it’s not known to help you cope with sadness (even short-term), and it doesn’t teach you how to deal with anxiety or use emotional intelligence. Food pleases only at a specific moment, without touching the root of the problem, but only enveloping it on the surface.
So where does the feeling arise that everything will be fine while consuming your favorite (often not the most healthy) food? According to medical publications from the Harvard University School of Medicine, there are parts of the brain that respond to “rewards” in the form of eating foods high in fat or sugar. Psychological research shows that reward behaviors tend to be repetitive.
But eating comfortable meals during difficult times, also known as emotional hunger, has only temporary health benefits. While there are methods to restore emotional self-control, to apply them, you first need to identify the causes of emotional hunger.
Causes of Emotional Hunger
A Harvard University study shows that emotional hunger and anxious overeating can be stopped by identifying the problems we hide from with food. Ask yourself, “Does this calm me down? Does this inspire me? Does it help me feel better after a hard day? ” Recognizing these thinking patterns helps you understand how to set long-term goals for your health.
Identify your emotional triggers
As the holiday holidays approach, the emotional triggers that exist in everyone’s life are becoming brighter. From missed love breaks, grief over the loss of loved ones, job loss to sadness over the inability to reunite with loved ones due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you can identify what triggers emotional hunger for you personally, then it will be easier for you to control it and feel calm during the Christmas and New Year celebrations, when emotions are heating up. One way to do this is to keep a food diary, where you record the emotions you experience while eating certain foods.
Such a diary does not serve to keep track of what you eat and how much. It is designed to recognize patterns and develop an exit strategy. For example, sometimes you can eat a bar of chocolate because you deserve it after a hard day. But you also need to remember that you deserve to feel healthy, sleep well, and hydrate your body by drinking enough water throughout the day.
Distract yourself from emotional hunger
If you eat occasionally because of stress, there are ways to reduce stress through yoga, meditation, and regular exercise. You don’t have to do vigorous exercise: just go for a walk for 5-10 minutes and you can distract from emotional hunger.
The best activities to distract from emotional hunger can take as little as 5 minutes. The more activities you come up with, the better! Harvard University recommends these distractions:
5 minute walk.
Sit a little outdoors outside your home or on your own terrace.
Dance to your favorite music for a few minutes.
Call a close friend and have a little chat.
If you try these methods and they do not help you, then you can turn to a specialist who will guide and accompany you in your anxiety. So you will learn to lead a healthy lifestyle in every sense.