Stop Using Food to Cope with Stress

A common self-treatment method for stress is often emotional eating. Using food to deal with stress has the potential to cause weight related health issues, which, ironically, only adds to stress levels.

The good news is that numerous methods exist to help people who are struggling with stress related eating to deal with their anxiety more effectively. Managing stress appropriately will provide improved emotional health as well as protect the body from the perils of stress eating.

1. Exercise

Exercise makes an excellent substitute for emotional eating and dealing with stress. It burns calories added by past stress related eating. Additionally, working out causes the body to produce endorphins, which are chemicals that cause feelings of well being.  

2. Journaling

Stress Why, an organization dedicated to dealing with stress management and relief, suggests journaling as a replacement for eating to deal with anxiety. Journaling allows participants to explore the feelings that are causing their stress. Putting feelings into words often provides a tool that allows people to actually solve the issue causing the stress. It allows people to release negative emotions.

3. Distraction

When the urge to snack during stressful situations arise, distractions can often be used to take attention away from that desire. For example, rather than eating, people often find that calling a friend on the telephone who can work them through the issue is helpful. You can also try chewing a piece of gum.

Breathing exercises also make excellent tools that calm the mind and prevent nervous snacking. It requires no special equipment and can be performed nearly anywhere at any time. A simple breathing exercise involves simply sitting up straight, slowly inhaling to a count of five, holding the breath for a count of five and slowly releasing the breath for another count of five. 

4. Counseling

The American Counseling Association reports that counseling sessions to help patients deal with stress benefit them in several ways. For example, counselors may be able to teach patients methods to control stress levels. They may also learn ways in which the issue causing the stress may be turned from a negative into a positive. Additionally, when appropriate, a doctor may prescribe medication to assist patients in certain cases.

5. Find a Hobby

A hobby brings pleasure and satisfaction into people’s lives. It can also assist in stress reduction by focusing their mind on pleasant things, rather than obsessing on the object of their anxiety. Developing a hobby on an area of interest, learning a new skill or starting a collection often brings peace of mind and may even connect people with new friends who have similar interests.

While stress management techniques will not instantly result in an anxiety free life, they can prevent emotional eating. Over time, by discovering and mastering the methods that work best for them, users find that they are better able to handle the stressful situations that arise in life. Additionally, they enjoy the benefits of a healthier body weight.


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