I took a poll recently on our Am I Hungry? Facebook page: “What are your top three triggers for overeating?” See if your top three triggers made the list here.
The two most common triggers for overeating
As humans, we tend to struggle with extremes. (I wrote about this in the article New Shades of Grey.)
If you’re in the habit of using food in an attempt to find balance—calm you down or pick you up, distract you or entertain you—then mindfulness can provide you with an alternative way to find the balance you seek.
Your Stress Management Toolkit
In the remainder of this article, we’ll focus on stress (we deal with boredom here).
I’ve put together a Stress Management Toolkit below with five short lessons for you to read now and refer back to the next time you’re experiencing stress and decide not to reach for food
#1 – Our Habits Depend on Our Mindlessness
Since our habits depend on our mindlessness, then the corollary is that awareness is the first step to making a change.
Chances are, if you have one trigger, you have dozens, but you are NOT powerless over food. Before we talk about specific strategies for dealing with specific triggers, we need to have an overarching strategy that will help you handle just about anything that comes up.
#2 – What is Stress?
Stress is your body’s response to an event or situation that is threatening, overwhelming, or harmful—whether real or perceived.
That is a critical point because much of the stress people experience results from their perception of a situation. That’s good news because that means that you can change your perception and change your level of stress.
Read more: What is stress anyway?
#3 – From Ahhh to Arghhhh and back to Ahhh again
You know how something can go from Ahhhh to Arghhhh! in three seconds flat? When that happened to me recently, I had to take a bit of my own advice.
Read this short story to see an example of stress management in action as I take my own advice!
#4 – Stress Management 101
When you’re experiencing stress, your impulse might be to power through, freak out, or stick your head in the sand (procrastinating, eating, drinking—you get the idea).
As we’ve all noticed, behaviors such as busyness, overworking, smoking, overeating, drinking alcohol to excess, isolation, and taking our frustration out on others, perpetuate the stress reaction.
Instead of trying to escape what you’re experiencing, pause and take a few deep breaths. Then click here to read the rest…
#5 – Stress Management 102
More “advanced” stress management skills include learning how to:
- Put things in perspective
- Take charge – if possible
- Change your thoughts
- Acknowledge your power to choose
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This article was updated from a previously published version.