Thursday, January 30, 2014

How To Calm Down

Do you eat when you’re stressed? In this episode, Dr. Nina teaches you four ways to relax your body and your mind. When you’re relaxed, you’re less likely to use food to calm down.

Check out this episode!

Here are some of the techniques that Dr. Nina discusses in the podcast episode.  For more details, listen to the episode


“I know it’s important to identify and process my feelings so that when I'm upset I don't turn to (or from) food.  Sometimes I’m too stressed out to deal with what’s going on inside.  What else can I do when I feel that way?”

Sound familiar?  If so, you may be accustomed to using disordered eating to numb, distract or comfort yourself and don’t know how else to calm down.   

Here are some ways to alleviate stress and anxiety by calming your body, centering your mind and stopping the escalation of stress.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise:  First, tighten your legs, then your stomach, and next your arms.  Make fists and keep your muscles really, really tight.  HOLD that tension as long as possible, a minimum of fifteen seconds but ideally as long as possible.  Then release. 

Feel that?  You’re probably feeling more relaxed.. The idea of this exercise is that without muscle tension, you can’t access muscle release.  When your body is relaxed, your mind will follow. 

The Four Senses Exercise:  As you know, we have five senses, but if you turn to food when you’re stressed, you’re familiar with the sense of taste and probably use taste – food – as the primary way you self-soothe.  The Four Senses exercise puts you in touch with the other four senses and helps you center yourself.

Wherever you are, look around and say one thing that you can:


Visualization. There are two ways to use visualization:  the first is to imagine a happy place where you feel safe and calm; the second is to think about something you’re afraid of, and imagine a positive outcome.  Keep in mind those four senses

Visualization #1: Visualize a place where you feel happy.  Where are you?  Who else is there?  Don’t limit yourself to reality; you can go anywhere your mind takes you.  In your imagination, what are you touching, seeing, hearing, and smelling?

Visualization #2:  Imagine a situation that makes you nervous, thinking about the best outcome possible.  Again, use the four senses to bring this to life.  What upcoming situation is causing you anxiety?  Whether it’s a job interview, a personal challenge, a blind date or anything else, imagine the very best outcome, visualizing and imaging the four senses.

Using these methods to calm down, along with learning to identify and process painful, difficult and upsetting emotions, will help you comfort yourself and find peace with words, instead of with restricting, bingeing and purging, or bingeing.  

When you are calm, you don't need food to cope.  And that's how you make peace with food!

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