So here’s how it goes… You feel stressed out, or upset, depressed, sad, angry, or whatever… you have a feeling you don’t like. So all of a sudden you feel hungry. You may be fully aware that you’re not really physically hungry, or you may have even just eaten. But either way, you feel “hungry.” So you eat something. Chances are you don’t go for something particularly healthy. That’s because it’s not physical hunger, it’s emotional hunger. When people are looking to medicate their feelings with food, they go for so-called “comfort foods.” These are foods that we associate with positive emotional experiences. Over the course of a lifetime, we each internalize our own unique “comfort food map.”
O.k., so back to the cycle… you might debate whether you should eat something, or you may not think much about it at all. Chances are, there’s at least a little bit of negotiation in your mind. You may think, “you know what? Yeah, I’m probably eating to soothe my emotions, but WHATEVER! At least I’ll feel better for a few minutes.“ It’s the WHATEVER that tells you you’ve gone down the rabbit hole. So now, you’ve just fed your internal saboteur and now it’s fully fueled and ready to attack.
You may be aware of the attack, or it may happen on a deeper, unconscious level. Either way, somewhere in your inner world, you’re beating yourself up. You’ve just convinced yourself of all of the horrible, mean things that you secretly think about yourself.
If you think about this internal dialogue, this IS “depression.” Depression is “anger turned inward.” You feel tired, sad, lonely, hopeless, and thoroughly convinced that you are an incapable person. You have trouble getting up in the morning, or getting to sleep at night. You don’t follow through on things that you’d like to do, because you have no faith in your ability to succeed.
And now… you feel that much worse than you did before, and all of a sudden, you “feel hungry.” And around it goes again. So how do you STOP the vicious cycle? Stay tuned for my next article...