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Stress and food

Sunday, October 20, 2019

I eat, not when I'm stressed out, but as a means to relieve myself from stress: to help me feel better.

The two are quite oddly connected - I'm stressed and anxious, so I eat because it feels like a means to help me have a quick relax from the stressful and anxious situation.

It can also be connected to an escape. I can escape to the kitchen to get the snack, or escape to the coffee shop to get the hot chocolate. So, it's an excuse to get away for a minute, or ten.

And, it is pleasurable. Something small and quick, but really enjoyable for me. I can stop an enjoy the chocolate, or the hot chocolate. Rather than feeling stressed or anxious I can experience a pleasurable emotion.

So, if I took away the food part: to take a break from a stressful situation, I need to go to a difference space, and, I need something pleasurable. And it needs to be small and quick. What would that look like for me?

There are outdoor spaces I can go to at work. At home, I could go outside. I remember having a colleague who had created this beautiful garden pond that she went to to escape. I could try something like that at home. Or even a small space in the house where I can do that. Currently, that space is where I am typing this blog right now, in a corner in the kitchen! But, it needs to be outside the kitchen. Somewhere in the lounge, I'm thinking. Or our spare room. In fact, the spare room could be a good option for this. I could try going to the spare room and lighting a fragrance candle. That's worth trying. I know the 'escape' needs to be tactile, rather than mental - so something I can smell, hear, see, or touch.

Something I keep in my coat pocket is a small stone that my son gave me. When I'm walking around, I find it immensely comforting to slip my hand in my pocket and run the stone through my fingers. Perhaps a bowl with stones, to touch and feel could help.

So, at home: Go to the spare room, light a candle, possibly, play with a bowl of stones. Let me try that.

At work: Going to the library is another option for leaving my office. So, I can say I need to get something from the library, rather, than I need to get a hot drink. That way, I get to go outside for a walk, with a clear destination in mind. But then, what to do once I'm there? Perhaps go to a bookshelf and read one paragraph from a random book? Or go to the top floor and sit and look out at the view? I have to work out the tactile side of this - that also does not look odd in a library! Also, the library is associated with work, rather than pleasure (although I do love going through the books!).

I guess there is also the option of herbal tea from the coffee shop. I could look into that, as I'm not sure if they serve those items. I don't always find herbal tea as wonderful as a nice flavoured, coffee, though, so the temptation for the other might be too strong. Equally, I could make sure I stick with a skinny cappucino. I've been slipping into hot chocolate, just recently...

Yeah, so I think it's not the stress itself that causes me to eat, it's the need to relieve myself from stress. I need to work out the alternatives that bring me as much excitement as the sweet treats.

Just thinking, how, at the office in the afternoon I will also snack while I'm working. I'll go get the coffee and the snack and head back to the office to work and eat. It's something to do with encouraging myself to keep going with the research-based side of my work. I'm wondering if having stones, or something for my hands to play with while I'm working might help? A stress ball type of thing? Just realising how quickly those snacks get eaten, actually. They're gone before I even realise. In a way, I just need something that brings me into awareness of how I am feeling.

So, these are my thoughts. I"d like to try and dig a bit deeper into my mental health, right now. Try and make some bigger changes, than just my eating habits.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I find to do as you wish,get OUT of the current stressor environment. Take a walk, you don't need a specific place to go, just go. As you walk around the office, a little wave to this person, that one. Smiling makes us happy, and brings UP the happy endorphins.

    I am a LOVER of hot chocolate. Carnation makes a low calorie one (35 cals) and I add marshmallows (a few are not bad for cals) or a flavoring cream, the International Delights at are reasonable calories (the individual ones) if you must have something as a distraction. But if it's just the distraction you want, SPARKS and Youtube have short neck/shoulder exercises we can do. The tension just LEAVES my body. Grab your phone and throw on a short video of deep breathing (You to do, LOL not listen to some guy !LOLOLOL again, Laughter is AWESOME!)

    Some stretches are great also for that relief.

    LOVE your blog! GREAT Way of analyzing the "What's behind this"
    341 days ago
    Very interesting blog. I love the stone in your pocket. A bowl of stones sounds wonderful. Also, going to the library and reading a paragraph from a random book. That's very cool!

    I set up our spare bedroom as my yoga space. A diffuser and essential oils, my Mexican blanket like the one in the Yoga With Adriene videos I do. It's my escape.

    I look forward to hearing more about your plans.

    343 days ago
    You have done a fantastic job analyzing the situation! I have a small jade stone given to me years ago from a friend and it is so soothing!

    I definitely find I need to locate myself OUT of the kitchen. DEFINITELY.

    As for working on the psyche, definitely helps.

    Good luck and fantastic blog.
    343 days ago
    Great insights, "So, if I took away the food part: to take a break from a stressful situation, I need to go to a difference space, and, I need something pleasurable" is brilliant.
    343 days ago
    Love it! When I'm feeling stressed out, I eat gum and take one of my cats to pet. Gum soothes me a lot. It does a good job. Also, going on the internet to search for info about things I want to know more, soothes me tremendously. Yep, "The two are quite oddly connected" scientifically shown that our brains crave sugar to relieve feel-good hormones and it's actually very effective for the moment but with the side effects of any addiction! Keep up your search. It's worth doing.
    343 days ago
    I was in the kitchen cleaning things up and started feeling a little overwhelmed. So I decided to take a small break and ck out my SP here. Nice motivating feel good break.
    343 days ago
  • GRACIE749
    Very insightful with good solutions. emoticon
    343 days ago
  • no profile photo INCH_BY_INCH
    emoticon I have family members who will dog you. Meaning, they demand what they want, do not back down until they get the whatever out of their system. It is a never-ending process working with them to gain the tools in their behavior modification strategies. So I nibble on something to keep my internal balance until these stressors go away. I tell people, I do not know where these people's off switch is or I would turn them off. Oh bother to the things I have no control over.
    343 days ago
    Great insight! "Yeah, so I think it's not the stress itself that causes me to eat, it's the need to relieve myself from stress."

    I used to have a small wide mouthed glass jar on my desk years ago that was filled with polished stones that I loved and could take into my hands. I also used to carry stones in my pockets to assist with stress reduction. I, too, am tactile! Scent also helped me. Have you used or considered using essential oils?

    You've generated some wonderful ideas in this blog. Wishing you success as you continue to explore this and dig deeper. emoticon
    343 days ago
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