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Coping with stress

26 Mar

How do you handle stress?

It’s such a predominant thing in our lives isn’t it?  Stress is everywhere.  Work, family, relationships, in the desire to achieve our own personal goals, along with wanting to exercise and eat healthily.

There are a multitude of coping techniques out there and often they are unconscious.  We don’t realise we are stressed, we simply respond in some ingrained manner.  Some coping techniques are so healthy and work well.  Others are not.

What if your coping technique simply adds to the stress of your life?

I had one of those ‘aha’ moments yesterday.  Some internet reading led me to articles about Oprah’s weight gain and the ensuing media bombardment of it.  Everyone has an opinion.  Yet, despite the stress that the media coverage must add to her life, the result for me has been an awakening.  I ignored all the rubbishy articles and found instead, her words and the words of another wise person close to her.

Ah, the stress free life of a cat!

Ah, the stress free life of a cat!

Over the years, I’ve analysed, dissected, turned inside out, been motivated about and given up on the reasons why I overeat.  Emotional eating.  That is what the experts kept coming back to.  Yet, that has never given me any focus for healing.  Which emotion?  Which situation?  Most of the time you only realise after the fact that you were angry or depressed – much too late to do anything about it.

Yet, the word stress is all encompassing.  All difficult emotions are stressful.  It is so much easier to recognise that you are stressed than to recognise which emotion is causing it.

Acknowledging that I eat to relieve stress is a simple answer that cuts to the core.  I’ve also realised that boredom is a factor and I need to allow for this as well.

I eat to cope with stress. 

This of course, adds to my stress – because I am not eating well, I am gaining weight, I am guilty, my energy is depleted through bad foods, I am not motivated to exercise which is one of the best stress relievers there is!  The vicious circle ensues.

Now that I realised and felt the constant state of stress that I am in, I know.  This is it.  This is my core.  I have found it. 

Today, I have simply acknowledged it – and that has started the process.  I already see many areas to look at further.  The desire to eat is still there.  But eating to cover stress?  I don’t want that.  So this morning, the desire never turned into an action.  And I am grateful (if somewhat stressed!  J )

I have brought out my Bach rescue remedy spray to help relieve these symptoms.  And now that I am recovering from illness, I can get back to regular walking.

I am excited to have discovered this.  I am thankful.  I have a long journey ahead of me now, but I feel prepared.  Understanding created readiness.

I’ve leave you with excerpts of what I read yesterday.  Excerpts that have changed my life.

_________________________________

“My greatest failure was in believing that the weight issue was just about the weight,” Winfrey told People in 1991. “It’s about not handling stress properly.” This is the information that Shrink Yourself has been trying to teach people for years. Overcoming weight issues has nothing to do with finding the right diet pill, plan or program. Overcoming weight issues has everything to do with how you handle stress. 

Often return to her old source of comfort: food.
Use food as a coping mechanism.

These days I’ve put myself back on my own priority list; I try to do at least one hour of exercise five or six days a week. As I work out, eat healthfully, and reorder my life so there’s time to replenish my energy, I continue to do the spiritual and emotional work to conquer this battle once and for all.

My goal isn’t to be thin. My goal is for my body to be the weight it can hold-to be strong and healthy and fit, to be itself. My goal is to learn to embrace this body and to be grateful every day for what it has given me.

I’ve heard it said that human beings learn in spirals. We return to the same issues again and again, hopefully with new information, new skills and new insights. Your fluctuations in weight can be opportunities to learn more and more about who you are and what you need to manage the stress in your life. Overcoming emotional eating isn’t easy. But we see people doing it here every day, with the support of an understanding community, and by finding the skills needed to stop using food as a friend, lover or form of medication and as Dr. Roger Gould says, “to finally let food be just food.”

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Posted by on March 26, 2009 in Evolving, Gratitude

 

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