Did you know that meditation techniques can help bring you anxiety relief from overeating? For many people, overeating is one of the anxiety symptoms that plague our fast-paced world. This is the story of one of my clients, I will call her Carol, who succeeded in calming herself down with the meditation techniques I gave her and greatly reduced her food intake.
Carol’s habit was to open the refrigerator door whenever she needed anxiety relief. She had become so obsessed with food that she had lost sight of the underlying cause of her overeating. As she practiced the meditation techniques, she became aware that overeating is one of her most common anxiety symptoms.
The first thing I asked Carol to do was notice what was going on inside of her when she reached for the refrigerator door. I asked her to pause for a moment, notice her thoughts and feelings with non-judgment and compassion for herself, and BREATHE. I did not ask her to not eat, but to bring AWARENESS to what was motivating her to open the refrigerator door.
As time passed and Carol worked with the meditation techniques, she started to realize that her overeating was one of the anxiety symptoms that in her, was manifesting as a food addiction. This powerful insight gave her the key to unlocking the solution to her problem.
Carol’s next step was to bring attention to the anxiety she felt at certain times of the day. I encouraged her to breathe and drink a glass of water whenever she first felt the anxiety arising. At the beginning, she still headed for the refrigerator but over time, she started to get anxiety relief from pausing to breathe and connect with herself. She then learned to distinguish between eating out of anxiety and eating because she was hungry. These are two very different sensations inside the body
As a result, Carol has created healthy eating habits and the anxiety she so often felt has diminished as well.
Here is one of the most powerful meditation techniques I know for bringing awareness to your overeating. It will bring you anxiety relief and help you understand how to maintain healthy eating habits.
Eating with Awareness
I am taking lunch as the example here but you can apply this technique to any meal. You might also find it useful when traveling or “on the road”, for example on airplanes, car trips, picnics, or at airports, bus depots or a busy restaurant.
Close your office door or find another place where you can eat your lunch without being disturbed. Eat slowly and deliberately, enjoying each flavor and sensation that arises, the crisp and juicy sweetness of an apple, the salty crunch of a chip, the fragrant comfort of a steaming cup of tea.
Chew slowly and feel your body receiving the food. Eat what your stomach wants and only as much as it wants, not what your eyes want. Let your stomach decide what you drink. Drink slowly, enjoying the taste, temperature and aroma of your favorite beverage. Breathe, be with yourself.