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To Improve Your Eating, Stop Creating Drama

Are you a drama addict or someone who can’t figure out how you end up in one crisis after another or situations which overflow with intense emotions? You probably realize that such sturm und drang adversely affects your eating, and wonder why your life is so full of drama when what you think you yearn for is calm. Here’s how.

Think back to your childhood. Was it predictable, peaceful, and structured without a lot of stress and upheaval? Were your caretakers and other family members usually pretty rational and level headed and did they settle disputes quickly and quietly? Or did you never know when a family quarrel would turn loud or violent or when a parent would erupt unexpectedly or without seeming to have a valid reason? Was high drama the rule in your family or was it a rare or non-existent occurrence?

Like soldiers, police or firefighters, we can become habituated to action and the charge it gives us. If you held a great deal of internal tension from family goings-on, like a coil ready to spring open, you may not realize that you hold the same tension now. This is a very common occurrence. Calm can feel weird and difficult to settle into because you’re used to it not lasting very long and tranquility being broken when you least expect it. Although this reaction occurs unconsciously, it still may be a reason for restlessness and edginess—and turning to food when things are quiet and you feel “bored.”

Rather than manage inner tension caused by unconsciously waiting for something bad to happen, you create a situation which discharges it. By eating, you get physical and mental relief and release from being so tightly wound. However, mindless eating often causes additional drama because it’s not a constructive activity. Its sole purpose is to discharge emotional tension, but the consequences of doing so may bring on more emotional tension—which leads to self-accusations, distress, anxiety, and over-the-top feelings. When you’re upset with yourself for mindless eating, you then may do or say something else impulsive to release those tensions. And round and round we go.

To stop seeking drama, consider if you’re habituated because drama was commonplace in your upbringing. There’s no shame there. You were a child and a drama-free childhood wasn’t an option. Your parents allowed it to happen or even may have generated it. Observe the tension you feel when life is calm and uneventful, when things are going well. Notice if this is a time you seek food yet don’t understand why. Drama seeking behaviors can be eliminated in therapy by unlearning old childhood patterns.