By Lauren Denos: 10/20/2014 (Mindset)

Emotional eating is very common and not only triggered by depression.

Emotional eating is something that affects many people. The thing is, it's not just depression that causes an emotional eating response, it can be anything including happiness. Sometimes we crave certain things depending on the mood we are dealing with. Maybe when you are sad you crave pizza and when you are happy you crave chocolate. Obviously working with a professional who deals with this sort of issue will be one of the best things you can do for yourself. But if you are one of the many that insists on dealing with everything on your own then the tricks in this article could help.

Emotional eating is a coping mechanism most commonly used to make ourselves feel better. Eating this food may initially make you feel better but then you wind up feeling even worse because you ate junk food that is going counter to what you are wanting to accomplish with your health. So you wind up dropping even further down than you initially were and beat yourself up for your failed will power.

Telling yourself you can not have something just makes you want it more, so instead just tell yourself, "I'm going to go on a walk, or call a friend, and then if I really still want chocolate I will have some." When you get a craving, stop and see what is going on emotionally. What are you feeling? How can you deal with this emotion without food?

Here are some emotions you may have and how you can deal with them without food.

#1 Loneliness

Many of us go through loneliness at some point in our lives. Sometimes we really do not have many people that we are close with and sometimes we are the social butterfly with tons of people we can call, and yet loneliness can still hit. Remember first and foremost that you really do need to be your best friend. Secondly, reach out to people when you feel like this. If you do not have many friends then maybe it is time to start going out and making some. You can also call a family member. All over the world people organize groups that have similar interests. You may be an extreme introvert but even you can go to events to meet people, sure you may not be the one who goes up and says hi to everyone, but even if you are hanging out in the corner, you will eventually meet people, even if by accident. The point is you do have the ability to have more people in your life.

#2 Boredom

It is amazing that in our fast paced society where there is so much opportunity around that people still have times of boredom. Really this is an easy one to fix. Find something you can enjoy doing so that you don't have to deal with these times. I suggest discovering the things you like to do ahead of time so when it comes up you are ready to deal with the emotions. In reality, you should find things you enjoy doing so that you can just enjoy life more; no matter what it going on. There are not only tons of classes for just about everything imaginable, but there are also free groups available all over the place as well as solo adventures you can go on. It may be that you enjoy swimming, or hiking, or photography, or maybe you just like curling up with a good book. There is no right or wrong. Just find what you enjoy doing and do more of it. This life is way too short to not explore what is available to you.

#3 Depression

Depression is a challenging emotion to deal with because it is like being in a forest you can not see the edges of. You can get so deep that you have no idea how to get out. If you suffer from depression often, then you need to keep up on techniques daily to keep this at bay. Sometimes you can do a few things and you bounce out of it, for many it is a process that eventually gets easier.

Call a friend. Sometimes you just need an outside person to see the issue and help come up with some initial solutions, or just to point out what is really going on. Because we get so deep in our own emotions we can start to make things way more complex then they need to be and our judgment gets really impaired. An outside person can see what is going on without all our emotions clouding their vision.

Make a list of all the things that are amazing in your life. You should do this EVERY DAY! Multiple times a day if necessary. If you are dealing with serious depression then do this morning and night. This sounds silly but it starts to put a spotlight on all the good things in your life. The more you focus on all the positive things in your life the more of that good stuff you will get.

Watch or listen to comedy. You are probably in desperate need of laughter. Listen to or watch as much humorous stuff as you can! This can be a CD in your car on the way to work or quick videos online on work breaks. If you are one of the lucky people that can listen to this stuff all day then add some throughout your day.

#4 Anxiety

Anxiety can range from slightly agitated to wanting to tear your skin off and crawl the walls. I have dealt with the severe anxiety in the past; it is not fun. When you are dealing with anxiety it is very important you get this nervous, irritable energy out and calm down at the same time. Sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and other stimulants can really intensify these issues so aside from the obvious need to eat well, be aware of those triggers. When you are working with anxiety issues go workout at least daily, some may need multiple workouts. For some people, intense workouts will be great. Others may want a calming exercise like walking. Walking is like a moving meditation which is a wonderful combination for someone with anxiety issues. No matter what you do just make sure you are moving, and moving often!

#5 Tired

Get some sleep! That is the first most important thing to do. If you are more exhausted from working a ton then you may need more of a relaxation time like a bath and pampering time with some great music. We live in such a fast paced society that we are under a lot of pressure, and feel like we need to work 24/7. Many times we feel guilty for taking time for ourselves or taking a nap. But think about how much more productive you will be with the rest of your time when you are well rested.

#6 Happy

Happy is a bit different from the other emotional eating triggers because instead of feeling down and needing a pick me up, you can feel so good that you would like to "treat" yourself to celebrate your happiness. Celebration is a good things but it is better to find something else to celebrate with. Instead of eating crap to celebrate, dance a jig, take a beautiful walk outside, or if you want to celebrate with a meal; chose a healthy meal like sushi instead of some quick garbage.



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