Beliefnet

Eating is a necessary part of our survival. However instead of eating to nourish our bodies, many of us, use food to comfort ourselves in times of stress, upset or in moments when we feel powerless to do anything else. So what do you do if you find yourself using food as a way to soothe yourself in times of difficulty?

Here are three ways to move beyond using food to comfort yourself and instead, feel at peace and in harmony with your body, yourself and your life.

1. Identify what is happening.

In the moment you find yourself reaching for food, identify what is happening in your life that is causing you to need comfort. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and acknowledge what just happened, or what happened earlier that day that you don’t feel good about or aren't OK with.

An essential part of this first step, is to not make yourself feel bad or guilty, if you are reaching for food. There is a reason that you need this comfort.

And once you get clarity on what is truly happening or upsetting you and most importantly, learn new tools to move through what you're experiencing, you will be able to love and comfort yourself in other ways.

2. Take time to truly understand yourself and what’s going on.

We often comfort ourselves with food because we don't know how to embrace, express or release the emotions we are feeling. So whenever an emotion comes forward, regardless of what it is, you may use food to manage or cover up that feeling.

Many of us simply weren't taught how to embrace our emotions. However, this is a skill you can learn and there are simple and effective ways to move beyond whatever you may be experiencing.

By learning these tools, your emotions won’t have a hold on you and you will able to gain the wisdom each emotion is here to teach you. And then most importantly, you will be free to move beyond what's happening and create what you truly desire in your life.

3. Honor yourself and what's happening by connecting with your emotions.

This week, give yourself an assignment to take 10 minutes a day to focus on you. As you do this, close your eyes and give yourself permission to connect with how you are feeling in that very moment. That is all you have to do. Just simply close your eyes and give yourself time to honor how you are feeling. And then give that feeling a voice. If that feeling could communicate with you, what would the voice of that emotion be? For example, if you are feeling frustrated, the voice of that emotion may be: "I can't do this" "I'm not good enough" or "I can't have what I want." Or if you're feeling angry, the voice of your anger may be: "I can't take this anymore" or "I'm not being heard" or “this needs to change”.

You can practice giving a "voice to your emotions" with any emotion you are feeling. Simply stop in that moment and connect with what your emotion is trying to communicate to you.

By honoring and acknowledging how you truly feel, you are giving yourself the insight you need to understand specifically what is happening within you.

And once you can identify this and the reason that you are feeling a need for some type of comfort, gaining clarity on what to do is the next step. Simply ask yourself, “What do I truly need in this moment?” Maybe you need love, understanding, guidance or a big hug. By honoring what you truly need and giving yourself that gift, you will no longer need to use food to comfort yourself, as you will be giving yourself exactly what you need instead.

It is important to remember as you put this new way of being into practice over the next few weeks and months, to above all, be gentle with yourself. It takes time to change the ways we have become accustomed to dealing with the difficulties in our life. However, now that you have this new tool to use, practice using it often.

For more tools on how to identify what is truly happening with you and how to move beyond the limitations you may be feeling in your life, download Chapter One of Diane Altomare's new bestselling book, Clarity.

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