Ever wonder why healthy ‘diets’ produce powerful results for some, and not for others? Maybe you’re someone who’s been eating healthier and feeling better, but find yourself still stuck with certain addictive behaviors around food? You’ve been exercising and introducing more body/mind practices into your lifestyle, but ‘out of the blue’ anxiety sometimes hits and you end up bingeing on foods you wish you would avoid?
You’re doing all the ‘right’ things with food, exercise and lifestyle. So what’s missing?
Enter EAT – Emotional Awareness Training.
I think many of us could write novels on the emotional romance we share (or have shared) with food and our bodies. Conventional psychology tends to teach us to disconnect from our bodies and use various mental strategies, which seem to make sense. However, they aren’t always easy when our emotions are triggered and our brains are literally hijacked by chemicals and limbic system activity.
Not only are some of these mental strategies difficult when our emotions are triggered but, for the most part, they take us further away from the immediacy of the sensations in our bodies.
Then we read Mindful Eating, which emphasizes the importance of noticing and allowing everything, especially our breath and the sensations in our bodies, when eating. This means noticing the guilt and/or shame we feel after bingeing on the “bad” foods and just allowing it to be okay. This is definitely a step in the right direction, but somehow, this also leaves many dedicated students still struggling.
Learning to FULLY FEEL AND RELEASE our emotions is what EAT (Emotional Awareness Training) helps us integrate into our day-to-day experience. It’s interesting to think about just how many of us have trained or engaged in some form of emotional intelligence practice, but still fail to see results in the areas of our lives that feel the most limiting.
So here’s the deal. How could you set yourself up to have reminders throughout the day to practice being more emotionally aware and responsible for what you are feeling?
Forget bingeing and forget being perfect with food, for now.
Just explore being more aware and able to release the emotions that feel heavy.
If you know you won’t think about doing this when high emotions arise, set an alarm one to three times a day to practice FEELING AND RELEASING. Invite a new experience. Invite this new practice.
- BE AWARE: Become increasingly aware of what is happening and what you are feeling inside your body.
- ALLOW: Continually remind yourself to ALLOW and not judge what you feel (you can add statements in your environment on Post-Its, white boards, mirrors, or wherever your heart calls you, such as “It’s okay to feel.” and “It’s safe for me to feel this fully.”
- FULLY FEEL: Keep your attention on your bodily sensations. At this stage don’t try to think or analyze anything and stay out of the story. Later, after you’ve fully felt and released it, you can process the meaning or share with someone (only without it being so emotionally charged).
- RELEASE IT: Let it go.
You’ve probably felt the relief of releasing something before; when you allowed yourself to fully feel something, instead of letting it simmer below the surface, or trying to dump it on others. Some ways you might process your emotions include: keeping a journal, talking it out, or having a good cry. Having a good cry may, up until now, give you the best experience of relief and lightness.
The good news is other ways are on the rise now. Techniques such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) or Feel & Release work much more quickly and effectively. With the help of these processes, instead of letting emotional turmoil simmer in the unconscious or looping around in conscious, creating negativity or resistance, you’re feeling the emotion. You’re expressing the emotion, and/or you’re releasing the emotion.
So, if you’ve been frustrated with not achieving the peace you’re longing for with food and body, see if you can turn EAT into Emotional Awareness Training. Your willingness to dive deeper may have you surprised to discover so much magic awaiting for you. Greater emotional intelligence is a true gift (especially for us women!).
I look forward to contributing more ‘EAT’ with the BeWellBuzz community,