Have you ever caught yourself craving junk food, sweets, or comfort foods when you were in the middle of trying to avoid bad feelings? It’s something we all do, but have you ever consciously caught yourself doing it?
About a year ago, I was living in a house where I was extremely uncomfortable. Okay, let’s be real – I straight up hated this place! Simply being in the house made me anxious, and I didn’t know how to deal with it. So, naturally, I turned to sweets.
Now, I’m a pretty healthy eater. I do love sweets and always have, but I make sure to eat them in moderation; but hen I was living in that house, I had a bowl of Sherbet every night! It provided temporary relief and allowed me to forget my discomfort, if only for a few brief moments. It usually also gave me something else to distract me from my discomfort… A sugar high, followed by a crash that whisked me off to sleep.
Then, one night, I was in the middle of a conversation with my husband about something related to the house, and I notice that I was making my way to the freezer to grab out the sherbet, without even thinking.
I stopped and I thought, wait a minute; do I really even want this right now?
I caught myself reaching for the sweets in a moment of discomfort, even though I didn’t really want the sherbet. This was the moment that it all clicked for me. Instead of acknowledging my problem and trying to deal with it, I was soothing myself with sweets, and it wasn’t really helping. The sherbet wasn’t going to make the bad feelings go away, all it was doing was making me less aware of them, which in turn was making me upset all the time, without really even knowing why.
So, in my brief moment of clarity, I decided to shut the freezer door, and instead of indulging in my desire to sooth myself with sweets, I allowed myself to sit with my discomfort.
The thing is, often times, when there’s something coming up in our lives that we don’t want to deal with, or maybe don’t know how to deal with, we automatically, unconsciously, seek out physical comforts. But all that does is keep us from overcoming whatever it is we’re struggling with.
In Yoga teacher training, we talked a lot about the importance of sitting with discomfort. It’s an important part of dealing with, processing, and overcoming bad feelings. If you constantly mask those bad feelings with temporary comforts, you’ll find yourself in a self-sabotaging trap that’s usually hurting you more than it’s helping.
After realizing that I was avoiding my negative feelings about the house, I gave myself some time to sit with those feelings. After a few days, I was able to come to terms with those feelings, and together, my husband and I decided that it would be in our best interests to move ASAP. So we did.
What do you think? Do you ever find yourself turning to food or other physical comforts as a means for avoiding your problems? Think you’d ever be able to catch yourself in the act and stop yourself? Share your experience with me in the comments below!
Photo Credit: Felipe Portella