• Jenny Malcolm

OOops I did it again- I cooled my stress with a tub of icecream

Had a rough day and devoured a bag of salty crunchy chips? Or maybe cooled off with a tub of icecream? Perhaps the loneliness got too much and you found comfort in that block of chocolate that just called to you with a sweet voice.

Relax – you are not alone. Eating your way out of feelings is a common coping mechanism. For 40years it was my go-to means of avoiding or consoling and comforting myself when external factors that are life, caused me to feel discomfort. For 40 years I would do this behaviour on automatic pilot and hate myself afterwards. The euphoria that the food bought would quickly be replaced with shame and guilt, more feelings to push down with more food. My go-to foods were always sweet and the pity of it was I never enjoyed the binge.

All this started to change when I made the connection that thoughts lead to feelings which leads to some form of action and that I actually had a choice between the feelings and action steps. However it never felt like I had a choice. In the moment I felt hijacked and out of control on automatic pilot. Once I understood that my body was actually in the stress response and I COULD do something about this, the power shifted from the food to ME.

The Stress response:

The amygdala –an almond shaped collection of cells - is the brain’s smoke alarm, that remembers last time this trigger or sensory experience was present, and it felt dangerous. It sets off a chain of chemical and sensory responses to prepare us so that we fight, flee or freeze in the presence of the perceived danger. Unfortunately this danger may be a simple disagreement with your boss, or the frustration sitting in traffic or the argument you had with a loved one. Hardly life threatening.

While the stress response is a valuable mechanism to have operating when a truck is bearing down on us as we cross the street or a tiger is lurking behind the hedge, it is not so useful in response to everyday life situations, that are not life threatening. The amygdala doesn’t know the difference between life threatening and perceived danger. However our body remembers an earlier association that our conscious mind doesn’t and the automatic response goes ahead on its own, as its designed to do with real danger.

As I learnt more, I found the ultimate stress reduction tool, based by copious real research. Affectionately referred to as psychological acupuncture, EFT (emotional freedom techniques) is simply a process of Calming the amygdala while at the same time accessing the negative emotion you are feeling (energy). It may be attached to a memory or limiting belief that is invisible to the conscious mind until the tapping action calms the mind and body. The rest of the brain then comes back on line and allows access to the rational, logical solution based part of the brain.

By tapping on the meridian points, the amygdala makes a new calmer association and no longer sees this as a threat next time the stimulus occurs. Often the threat could be an association inadvertently made in your childhood that is deeply programmed. (a memory, a belief, big or small).

Once this subconscious association is identified and allowed to be desensitised. Freedom, clarity and choice ensues. Sounds too simple. That’s what I thought too. But who’s going to argue when I have freedom after 40 yrs, from the clutches of food?!!

Quick, easy, mobile and permanent – Give EFT a go and experience the prospect of freedom for yourself

Jenny Malcolm

Mind & Body Wellness Coach 21.2.21

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