• Catherine Chadwick

Do You Eat When Stressed?

We all know that life is full of demands, hurry, deadlines and things that have to be finished now! All of us seek some time out, some relief, some moments to gather our thoughts and there are many ways we do that. For some, it’s taking a cigarette break, for others it’s opening a beer or bottle of wine, for others it’s eating - particularly things that give an immediate blood sugar kick, which gives us an artificial “lift”.

So I frequently see people who are doing just this - eating when stressed. There are of course many tools out there that help us reduce the toll of stress and some of these I will outline in another blog. However, the best solutions invariably come from the client themselves.

I was once working with someone who was very much endeavouring to look after her health and was keen on exercise. However, she had a very demanding job and since food was readily available at her place of work, found herself grazing during the day, despite her best efforts and despite eating healthily outside work. Consequently, she was carrying some extra pounds she wanted to be rid of.

I asked her to get an image of her problem and as so very often happens with images from the unconscious, it was very revealing. The current problem of having unhealthy food readily available in her working environment reflected the availability of sweets in her childhood home which she would just dip in to when she wanted. As she continued to explore the image, something rather wonderful happened, which shows just how beautifully the unconscious mind can work for us, when we allow it. The image then started to change. As it did so, my client realised there were 2 very satisfying solutions, one of which was a soothing image she could use to manage the demands of her job and the other showed her what to do when she needed a break.

Neither of these solutions could have been suggested by me - I simply did not have the intimate knowledge of my client that these solutions demonstrated - or consciously determined by my client. The process we did allowed her to dip into the inner wisdom we all have and to pull out resources that she hadn’t realised were available to her. For me, this is one of the beauties of working with hypnotherapy. How wonderful to know that we can find our own solutions. We just have to know how to access them.

When solutions are generated internally, we are more likely to stick with them because they are meaningful to us and often have an immediate impact. My client excitedly let me know that she immediately stopped eating the tempting sweets and cakes at work and the next time I saw her, this was still the case.

One of the things to recognise about stress is that as a human species, we are not designed to be constantly under the gun. It has been recognised that the human brain is designed for periods of 90 - 120 minutes of activity and then it needs about 20 minutes to assimilate and re-energise. Not only are many of us unaware of this but we berate ourselves if we fail to continuously keep going. It may be that not only are we enhancing our health and wellbeing by honouring this biological need but also creating the inner environment for creativity. For more information on this, do read my "Ultradian Rhythms" blogpost.

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