karen header 3

Karen's Blogs

Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life.Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

[No unsolicited guest blogs accepted, thank you]

Why We Get Upset So Easily—and How Not to

Many of us have experienced going from 0 to 10 on the distress scale in a nanosecond and seeking food to calm down. For some, it becomes a habit. Unfortunately, if we habitually use food to re-regulate or to preventively tamp down our upset or anger, we never learn effective skills to manage emotional distress. That is why some of you still fear upset and losing your temper or your cool many decades into life.

The first thing you should know is that we are biologically built to feel fear and hurt as strong emotions because they may signal that there is a threat to us in the environment. Experiencing surges of emotion can be a sign that something is very wrong, but they can also, equally, amount to false alarms. As Amy Alkon, the Advice Goddess (whose column I love and quote from frequently in my blogs), describes in her column, “What you seethe is what you get” (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 5/5/16, p. E55), some people “have exaggerated activity in the part of the brain called the amygdala…that basically works as a security guard, identifying threats (or potential threats).”

For some people, the amygdala is more sensitive than for others and you may be one of them if you tend to easily get rattled or fly off the handle. This does not mean that you are a bad or defective person. It simply means that you are relying too much on your amygdala’s response to guide your life. This is likely, in part, because your role models early on had similar quick-draw reactions and, therefore, couldn’t teach you how to respond more effectively because they didn’t know how to do so themselves.

Maybe your upset by your kids, or your neighbor, spouse, boss or even strangers. Or, just about everyone you run into. To manage emotional distress more appropriately and maturely, you first need to acknowledge having this problem. There’s no shame in admitting it, but there should be shame in denying it’s true just so you don’t need to change. If you tend to erupt quickly and fiercely, admit it with the knowledge that you can retrain yourself to respond more thoughtfully and deliberately over time.

Rather than eating to tamp down the fire within, you can walk away from the situation, take five deep breaths, count to 10, think about another way to handle the interaction, imagine how you wouldn’t like someone to similarly erupt at you, have compassion for the people on the receiving end of your tantrum, or close your eyes and imagine relaxing in your favorite spot. Think of emotional eating as consistently driving you away from learning the skills you need for a functional life, a dead end, if there ever was one.

How to Choose Happiness
What One Thing Can You Do to Heal Your Eating Diso...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.karenrkoenig.com/

shelf new

EBProfessionalBadgeLarge

This website is owned and operated by Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW. It contains material intended for informational and educational purposes only, and reasonable effort is made to keep its contents updated. Any material contained herein is not to be construed as the practice of clinical social work or of psychotherapy, although adherence to applicable Florida States, Rules, and Code of Ethics is observed. Material on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment for mental health issues or eating disorder problems, which should be done only through individualized therapeutic consultation. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained on this website. This website contains links to other sites. The inclusion of such links does not necessarily constitute endorsement by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW who disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained in this website. Further, Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy or current usefulness of the material contained in the linked sites. Users of any website must be aware of the limitation to confidentiality and privacy, and website usage does not carry any guarantee or privacy of any information contained therein.  Privacy Policy