Saturday, July 15, 2017

Eating Your Feelings

"'We found that employees who have a stressful workday tend to bring their negative feelings from the workplace to the dinner table, as manifested in eating more than usual and opting for more junk food instead of healthy food,' said Chu-Hsiang 'Daisy' Chang, MSU associate professor of psychology and study co-author." (SOURCE)

It can be an exhausting cycle, with stress, overeating or eating junk food, and lack of sound sleep all working together to aggravate one another. More than once (more than 100 times?), I found myself reaching for the ice cream during last year's nonstop stress. So many times, I could not find a reasonable way to make the world better, but I could temporarily feel better with a slice of pizza - or three or four slices, and another bowl of ice cream.

Yihao Liu, co-author and assistant professor at the University of Illinois, points out that eating like this is an instinctive strategy to avoid unpleasant feelings, but that feelings of "diminished self-control" can also lead to unhealthy food choices. "When feeling stressed out by work, individuals usually experience inadequacy in exerting effective control over their cognitions and behaviors to be aligned with personal goals and social norms."

In reading and reflecting on this, I became more familiar with the sense of giving up, of giving in to a mild form of despair, of thinking, 'why bother?' when it comes to 'eating my feelings.' And, not surprisingly, I have found it more satisfying to work mindfully with these underlying feelings of grief, frustration, and powerlessness.

And when I do go ahead and eat that ice cream, it is easier to stay with it, savor it, and eat the treat, instead of my suffering.

Michigan State University. "Eating your feelings? The link between job stress, junk food and sleep." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 June 2017. <>.