Tips to Stop Emotional Eating

... Allison Dryja/MBG:

Here are a few tips on how to let go of fear and reclaim your relationship to food and spending:

1. Take a breath.

Yes, it’s obvious, but taking a breath is really the most immediate way to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and calm yourself down. It automatically brings you to the present moment, releases a layer of fear, and tells your body you are not in immediate danger.

2. Focus on love.

Give yourself a hug, get a hug from someone else, climb under the covers or take a bath. Let yourself feel held by something, reassuring your body that you're safe. Many times, our desire to emotionally eat is fueled by our body’s effort to be hugged and protected with excess weight, so try giving this sensation to your body before you try eating.

Even if you're not experiencing legitimate reason for your fear, give yourself a moment of self-love. It may be the only way your body will know to respond without eating or spending.

3. Tune in.

Open yourself up to receive guidance and support. Look for signs or listen to the sounds around you. Many times when we're receptive to the wisdom in the present moment, we receive the messages we most need to hear in order to break through our fear.

4. Get support.

Get an accountability partner or create a group of friends that you can call on if you find yourself wanting to binge. Find a mentor or work with a personal coach.

5. Experiment.

If all else fails, let yourself eat, spend or drink, and do it from a place of compassionate awareness. We develop these habits for legitimate, life-affirming reasons, so let yourself go through the motions and get curious about how your behavior serves you. Go slowly and be with yourself through the entire experience, from self-judgment to pleasurable release and back again. Take out a journal and write down what you find.

6. Zoom out.

Remember that you're here on this earth for only a short period time. Your life is a tiny speck in the enormity of all existence. That alone might be scary, but realize that any fear you feel is even less significant than you are.

Zooming out to see the big picture of the brief, miraculous nature of life can remind you that you have very little to lose by moving boldly into the unknown. To embrace a full, adventurous, exciting life, filled with joy, pain, pleasure — and who knows what else!

It’s from this place of fullness, of accepting all aspects of life that you truly come home to yourself and your body. When you welcome and invite all that moves through you — including your fear — you see there’s really nothing to be afraid of after all.