It is not about the food (part 1) – Emotions & Feelings
Last week I introduced my campaign to bring awareness as to what lies behind the western world’s growing problem of obesity, today I shall talk about ‘emotions’ and ‘feelings’, yes those driving forces and the touchy feely things we don’t like to talk about.
So lets start by identifying what I’m talking about, when I use the term ‘feelings’ I’m talking about how our emotions make us feel. The feeling is the physical expression of an emotion we feel inside, in our subconscious mind which is where emotions are generated.
As a hypnotherapist I tend to divide our behaviour into three parts conscious, subconscious and unconscious.
Research suggests that our conscious mind can only deal with seven to nine pieces of information at any given time, it’s no wonder we can feel overwhelmed easily these days. However, it is very good at analysing these pieces of information allowing logical and rational decisions made all the time.
Subconscious the storehouse of our experiences, perceptions, beliefs, attitudes and projections into the future. It is where our emotions are generated as a result of our experiences, beliefs and attitudes.
The unconscious mind is not actually unconscious as such, rather that we are not aware of it as it goes about its work. It controls and monitors all our automatic bodily functions. This is also where our emotions which were generated in the subconscious are turned into feelings.
Let me just give you an example, when you experience the emotion fear the unconscious activates the physical response of releasing adrenaline, the heart rate increases, muscles tense up and breathing shortens and you feel anxious. This is why we often refer to our emotions as feelings.
There are many different opinions as to how many primary emotions we have and what they are rather than me explain it all check out Emotions explained. I would have used the heading ‘Feelings’ where he has said ‘Tertiary emotions’.
So what has all this got to do with obesity and how to lose weight? It is about how our emotions and feelings affect us that makes the difference. I am coming from the place that all emotions are ‘good’ in that they have a purpose it is what we make them mean that makes the difference.
Emotion is motivation, it is a psychological signal to take action. When we suppress our emotions and feelings we are suppressing our motivation a self saboteur develops. One of the main ways of suppressing our emotions is by distraction techniques. We divert our attention from the pain of what is bothering us to something more pleasurable, well at least in the short term. See if you recognise this one, you feel bored and you reach for food. Other common distracters are alcohol, gambling, TV, computer games, prescription and non-prescription drugs.
The reality is no amount of food or other distracter is going to satisfy the emotion so continuing to give the emotion what it does not need is not going to help. Motivation is gone and you feel bad and the cycle continues with more weight going on.
As our emotions and feelings are created in our subconscious so it makes sense to work with our subconscious mind to overcome the problem, this is where hypnotherapy is so effective.
I know from working with clients who have been on YoYo diets for years that obesity or overweight is not about the food.