Stress and Negative Emotions

Here we are into July already.

It is summer and everyone is taking a turn at enjoying a little time off for vacation. We are also “enjoying” shorter staffing at work as a result. This can mean more stress at work. Or rather, using the MODEL, there may be more circumstances at work that produce negative thoughts that we may want to buffer away with some comfort food.

It is OK to feel angry, frustrated, tired, slighted, ignored, anxious, or any other negative emotion. After all, they are 50% of the human experience. By experiencing them we are experiencing our humanness.

But negative emotions don’t feel good you say!

Nope, they don’t.

That is normal.

Does eating a doughnut make it feel better?

Yep, but only in the VERY short term.

By eating doughnuts to buffer negative emotion we create MORE negative emotion because our actions are at odds with what our neocortex brain REALLY wants – to lose weight. So eating doughnuts ultimately produces more negative emotions like shame and guilt, disappointment and strong feelings of failure.

We can experience the negative emotions now or later.

It is our CHOICE to buffer over them in the short term with food and experience an avalanche of negative emotions later

OR

Let the current negative emotion just pass through us and be gone.

I tend to avoid negative emotions around the end of my meal when I need to find my “satisfied” or +2 and stop eating.

I get upset over wasting the food on my plate. I feel “entitled” to clean my plate past my “satisfied” feeling in the stomach because the food is healthy, tastes good, is a reward for a busy day at work, or cost me money.

Here is the unintentional MODEL for this repeating behavior of mine:

CIRCUMSTANCE: FOOD ON A PLATE

THOUGHT: I can eat everything on my plate.

EMOTION: Entitled

ACTION: Eat all the food no matter what or how much is on my plate. Eat beyond my satisfied.

RESULT: A clean plate. Overeat beyond satisfied. Gain weight.

My feeling of being ENTITLED is a subtly negative emotion. It doesn’t seem like it would be bad to feel but it is. Feeling entitled means I am telling myself I have “earned” something, that I am “owed” something and I can eat all I want as a reward.

My actions have me actively ignoring what my body is clearly telling me: “I’m satisfied and you don’t need to give me more food!”

Clearly this unintentional model is not going to help me leave food behind on my plate so I am going to follow this INTENTIONAL model to redirect my thoughts.

CIRCUMSTANCE: FOOD ON A PLATE

THOUGHT: I stop eating when my body says it is satisfied.

EMOTION: Mindful

ACTION: Eat to my satisfied. Think about why my mind is not satisfied but my body is. Allow the urge to clean my plate to run through my body and dissipate while I look at the leftover food on my plate. Throw away leftover food or save it in the refrigerator.

RESULT: Listen to my body. Feel confident I can leave food behind.

The emotion of being MINDFUL is not a strong one but is subtly powerful. It forces my brain to pause and redirect my thinking. It redirects my mind from the primitive brain emotion of ENTITLED toward an emotion I choose. It gives me back control to think about the food in front of me and if my body really needs it.

It gives me a chance to be mindfully thinking instead of mindless eating!

 

 

 

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