I probably just tricked you with the title of this post, but for a good reason.
I’m not speaking to listening to hunger cues, energy levels, or quality of exercise in this post. I’m talking about listening to your emotions. People wrestle with the same emotional turmoil over and over again, and despite the greater affect this has on their lives, they ignore it.
Would you ignore your stomach rumbling for hours on end?
Or your head if it was throbbing day after day for weeks?
I would think not.
Unfortunately, a lot of us have not learned to use our emotions/feelings in the way we use our bodies’ physical feedback systems. Meaning, if that emotion was a throbbing headache, 90% of people would ignore it and keep driving themselves crazy over and over again wondering why it’s there.
Your emotions are your bodies way of communicating with you, just as is hunger – and it’s just as if not more important to listen to.
We’re living in a time of ‘information overload’ we consume SO much information, yet somehow we are fatter and lazier than ever. Doesn’t really make much sense does it? Part of this has to do with the fact that physiologically speaking we (humans) don’t like change because it requires our brains to think – which they don’t want to do, and because we consume so much we paralyze ourselves by choice overwhelm.
We consume so much information to help us solve our problems that we confuse ourselves into a tangled web of contradicting opinions and methods and ultimately don’t do anything.
Paralysis by analysis.
This is incredibly relevant in the health industry, but in my opinion – not because someone doesn’t know how to listen to hunger, but because they don’t listen to their own emotions. Feelings and emotions are just as important to listen to as physical cues, because they are our own minds giving us feedback to given situations.
You watch a scary movie —-> you feel anxious for up to 2 hours afterward and don’t like it
…….but you still go to scary movies
You go out with your friends and eat your weight in french fries —-> next day you feel sad & worthless
……..but you repeat this the next weekend
You hangout with a guy who undermines you consistently —-> you feel belittled and angry
……..but you hangout with him the next day as well
Sounds sort of insane right? Unfortunately these are all situations I hear about frequently, and because of the fact that they are much ‘harder’ to change they go untended to!
More than not, people choose the comfort of familiar pain rather than the discomfort of positive change.
We are so much more proactive at physical pain than emotional pain – which results in most people making surface changes for internal problems. You can be on the most ‘optimal’ diet and have the best workout split any fit pro would agree upon but if you still lack the ability to do your internal emotional work, you’ll ultimately fall back into your old habits whether it take 6 months or 3 years.
Life becomes a lot easier when we look at emotions like we look at physical cues.
Logically Evaluating Emotional Feedback
To logically evaluate what to do in any given situation – one must be able to remove themselves from the situation, and look at it from a bystander perspective, this takes a certain level of self-awareness.What works for most people is having them tell themselves ‘their’ story as if it was the situation of a friend. Then, you’re able to logically go through the process just as you would with a physical cue.
Event Occurs —-> Feelings Triggered/Evaluated
—-> Decide on New Actions to Provoke Desired Emotion —->
Perform Actions —-> Assess Emotions
It’s really not that complicated, it’s just being able to take ourselves out of the situation that feels difficult at times.
Try it right now – what is ‘bothering’ you currently?
Now tell yourself the story as if it were a friend experiencing this
I understand that ‘easier said than done’ but once you see this from an outside perspective, and understand that solving emotions is a logical process just as is any other, you’ll create a lot more positive results in your life. Staying stuck in a negative emotion without changing the desired result or even attempting is pure insanity.