We’ve all had those days before. You’ve been up since the crack of dawn, running around everyone else. The day has been one mini-disaster after another. In the rush of the morning, you forgot to defrost some meat for dinner. By the time you get home, realise this, and swear under your breath, you’ve lost all motivation to cook a nourishing dinner.
In fact, there’s only one thing on your mind right now. It’s that big block of chocolate at the top of the pantry. Or maybe the bag of salt and vinegar chips you stashed out of sight. Maybe it’s the tub of ice-cream down the bottom of the freezer, hidden under the frozen veg.
Usually, you’d tell yourself to be strong. But you’re just feeling so tired, so unappreciated, and so unheard.
Let me hit the pause button for you right there. There are a few things you can use to wind yourself down other than your favourite stress foods.
Take some deep breaths
Deep breathing is one of the best things for keeping the nervous system calm and collected. But most of us don’t breathe deeply throughout the day – in fact, many of us only get to deep breathe when we’re asleep!
So take 10 slow, deep breaths before you do anything. Try to make each breath a little slower, a little deeper, a little longer than the last.
The deeper your breath, the more you deactivate your ‘fight or flight’ response, while activating the ‘rest and digest’ mode. This switch makes it easier for you to calm down from the stress of the day, without needing a whole packet of cookies!
Be aware of your feelings
Sometimes, we just don’t want to think about how we’re feeling right now. But that’s often the motivation behind why you’re diving headfirst into a bottle of wine when you get home!
Your unconscious mind has two main goals – move you away from pain, and move you towards pleasure. If you’re not taking time to process your feelings, your unconscious mind sees them as pain, and will try to distract you from those feelings.
But emotions, like fear, are often scarier when you don’t look at them closer!
Even if you take 2 minutes to write down 3 emotions you’re feeling right now, you can understand what’s going on in your head. And this can show you why you’re reaching for the comfort food.
Have a glass of water or a cup of herbal tea
If you’ve had a chaotic day, there’s a pretty good chance you’re dehydrated. And dehydration affects all of the body systems, including your poor frazzled brain. So let’s address that problem.
Grab a nice big glass of water and drink it down. Give yourself 10 minutes, and see how you feel. Even if you still go ahead and eat your stress relief food, you’ll be more hydrated. You might even feel fuller more quickly, as hunger can sometimes be thirst in disguise!
For extra brownie points, make it a cup of soothing herbal tea instead. The warmth and the calming actions of herbs like chamomile are like a big hug for your insides.
Get an endorphin hit
Your unconscious mind pushes you towards comfort food because it wants to feel pleasure. So if you really don’t want to fall down the slippery slope of stress eating, why not give it another form of pleasure?
You might like to:
- Cuddle your partner
- Cuddle your children or pets
- Do a few minutes of stretching
- Go for a walk around the block to clear your head
- Have some more intimate time with your partner (or yourself, if you know what I mean!)
- Do a quick 15 minutes of strength training, yoga or running
All of these things will give you the same feel-good hit of endorphins – without the guilt and shame afterwards.
Find a new focus
We are really good at focusing on what we DON’T want. But your unconscious mind doesn’t process negatives. So if you’re thinking ‘I don’t want to drink a bottle of wine and eat a kilo of chocolate’, all your unconscious mind can think about is wine and chocolate!
So instead, think of what you want instead of the things you’re craving. It might be:
I want to nourish my body with a nutritious dinner
I want to release my stress so I can feel calm and collected
I want to find healthier ways to deal with my stress after a long day
When you focus on what you do want, your unconscious mind will find a way to give that to you!
Are you wanting to quit dieting and develop a healthy relationship with food? Get access to my Nutritional Hypnosis Membership Group for ONLY $67 until 30th June!! (Regular price for 4 months is $160) Click here to join!!!