Tag: behavioural therapy

    Effective CBT Tool to Help Stop Emotional Eating

    effective-cbt-tool-to-help-stop-emotional-eating

    How to address emotional triggers using the ABC model.

    Most of us are familiar with the term “emotional eating” and it’s the number one reason why people eat when they are not hungry. I’m going to share an effective Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) tool which will help you address the triggers that lead to emotional eating.

    It’s really important to be able to discern between emotional hunger and physical hunger, and to be able to address the cause of emotional eating. While the two sensations may feel very similar, it is only as we become attuned to our body that we can differentiate between them.

    The biggest problem with emotional eating is that it does NOT make you feel better, less stressed, whole, or happy. Unfortunately, it has the EXACT OPPOSITE effect, and actually makes you feel worse. After eating something due to an emotional trigger you end up feeling guilty and frustrated with yourself.

    There are two simple principles to help you distinguish between emotional hunger and actual hunger:

    1. Emotional hunger is a sudden and impulsive feeling.

    Whereas actual hunger is gradual and doesn’t become urgent until you are starving. Typically when you are hit with an urgent pang for a particular food then some emotional trigger is involved.

    1. Emotional hunger cannot be satiated with food.

    When you eat as a result of an emotional trigger, as opposed to a physical trigger, you will find that you can continue eating. You may be familiar indeed with bingeing, which is an extreme form of emotional eating. This is where you can eat the whole packet of biscuits and still not feel satisfied. Food cannot fill the emotional deficit that you are experiencing. Physical hunger is easily satiated and once you eat something the feeling of hunger is replaced by a feeling of fullness.

    Like anything, the more you practice tuning into your body the easier it will be to identify emotional hunger.

    How can you overcome emotional eating?

    There are two simple and extremely effective steps:

    1. Awareness
    2. Recognize and address emotional triggers

    The most important thing when it comes to addressing emotional eating is awareness. 

    • Put your attention right now into your body.
    • Put your attention right now in your stomach.
    • Are you hungry right now for food at this moment?
    • Every time you’re about to put food in your body, ask yourself, am I hungry right now?
    • How hungry am I?
    • What am I hungry for?

    Emotional hunger is different.

    Typically when you are hit with an urgent pang for a particular food then some sort of emotional trigger is involved. If you trace back your thoughts to the moment before you felt the urge, you’ll discover that there was a dialogue taking place in your mind. So many people turn to food as a way of trying to cope with something else that they are struggling with.

    Whenever you feel yourself getting stressed, anxious, sad, bored, upset, or are experiencing pangs of emotional hunger I have a very effective Cognitive Behavioral Therapy exercise that I want you to use. It’s called an ABC sheet. I absolutely love this tool and find it extremely helpful in addressing emotional hunger, so please use it!

    The key with this is that you must physically go through the exercise in written form. It will only take a couple of minutes and will help you recognize and address the triggers that lead to emotional eating.  

    Below there is an example of a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy ‘ABC sheet’ to help you learn to address emotional eating. The first row provides the headings and the second row tells you what to do.  Try it out whenever you feel yourself experiencing the pangs of emotional hunger. Going through the process of actually writing the thoughts out is really cathartic and will help reduce and often eliminate the bad feelings.

    abc-emotional-eating

    Whenever you notice yourself feeling at that point where you want to eat for emotional reasons, as opposed to feelings of actual hunger, do an ABC Sheet. Whether it be boredom, sadness, emptiness, stress, loneliness, anger…or whatever the feeling is!

    This very simple formula can help you overcome emotional eating:

    1. Differentiate between emotional hunger and physical hunger 
    2. Use the ABC sheet whenever you feel the pangs of emotional hunger

    By now I hope you are clear on how to differentiate between emotional hunger and physical hunger, and you have a powerful tool to use whenever you feel the pangs of emotional hunger.

    Over the next week I want you to really start to listen to your body and check in every little while and practice body awareness. If you recognize that you’re not actually hungry, don’t eat!

    If you recognize that you are experiencing a craving due to emotional hunger, then I want you to pull out a piece of paper and go through the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy ABC exercise. It’s really important that you physically write out the exercise as opposed to just thinking it. The idea here is that you are interrupting the feelings, acknowledging, and addressing them. This will help combat the need to fill the feeling with food and will help you overcome emotional eating for good!

    The Illusion of Control: Are There Benefits to Being Self-Deluded?

    The Illusion of Control
    Do people always over-estimate how much they control their lives?

    The ‘illusion of control’ is this: people tend to overestimate their perceived control over events in their lives. It’s well documented and has been tested over-and-over in lots of different studies over four decades.

    Here’s an example: you choose an apple which tastes delicious. You assume you are very skilled at choosing apples (when in fact the whole batch happens to be good today).

    Another: you enter the lottery and win millions. You assume that this is (partly) a result of how good your lucky numbers are (in fact lotteries are totally random so you can’t influence them with the numbers you choose. Although most of us know and accept this, we still harbour an inkling that maybe it does matter which numbers we choose).

    Sometimes this illusion manifests as magical thinking. In one study participants watched another person try to shoot a miniature basketball through a hoop (Pronin et al., 2006). When participants willed the player to make the shot, and they did, they felt it was partly down to them, even though they couldn’t possibly be having any effect.

    It’s like pedestrians in New York who still press the button to get the lights to change, despite the fact they do nothing. Since the late 80s all the traffic signals have been controlled by computer, but the city won’t pay to have the buttons removed. It’s probably just as well: they help boost people’s illusion of control. We feel better when we can do something that feels like it might have an effect (even if it doesn’t).

    A beneficial illusion?

    It’s sometimes argued that the illusion of control is beneficial because it can encourage people to take responsibility. It’s like when a person is diagnosed with an illness; they want to take control through starting medication or changing their diet or other aspect of their lifestyle.

    Similarly, studies find that hospital patients who are able to administer their own painkillers from https://www.ukmeds.co.uk/treatments/pain-relief/dihydrocodeine-30mg-tablets/ typically give themselves lower doses than those who have them prescribed by doctors, but they experience no more pain (Egan, 1990: What does it mean to a patient to be “in control”)a study has also shown that many people try to find how to get rid of external hemorrhoids permanently very desperately.

    Feeling in control can also urge us on to do things when the chances of success are low. Would you apply for that job if you knew how little control you had over the decision? No. But if you never apply for any jobs, you can’t get them. So we pump ourselves up, polish our résumé and practice our interview technique.

    But the illusion of control isn’t all roses.

    To return to the discussion of lotteries, we can see the illusion of control operating in the financial markets. Traders often feel they have more control over the market than they really do. Indeed one study has shown that the more traders think they are in control, the worse their actual performance (O’Creevy & Nicholson, 2010). A word of caution there for those who don’t respect the forces of randomness.

    More generally, some argue that the illusion of control stops us learning from our mistakes and makes us insensitive to feedback. When you feel you’re in charge, you are more likely to ignore the warning signals from the environment that things are not under your control. Indeed an experiment has shown that the more power you feel, the stronger the illusion of control becomes (Fast et al., 2009).

    Illusion of futility

    So far, so orthodox. What’s fascinating is the idea that the illusion of control itself may be an illusion, or at least only part of the story.

    What if the illusion of having control depends heavily on how much control we actually have? After all, we’re not always totally out-of-the-loop like the experiments above suggest. Sometimes we have a lot of control over the outcomes in our life.

    This has been recently tested out in a series of experiments by Gino et al. (2011). What they found was that the illusion of control flips around when control over a situation is really high. When participants in their studies actually had plenty of control, suddenly they were more likely to underestimate it.

    This is a pretty serious challenge to the illusion of control. If backed up by other studies, it reverses the idea that the illusion of control is usually beneficial. Now we’re in a world where sometimes the illusion is keeping us back.

    For example, applying for more jobs increases the chance of getting one, exercise does make you more healthy, buying a new car does make you poorer. All these are areas in which we have high levels of control but which we may well be assuming we haven’t.

    This effect will have to be renamed the illusion of futility. In other words: when you have high control, you underestimate how much what you do really matters.

    Lack of Education Is As Deadly As Smoking

    Lack of Education Is As Deadly As Smoking

    Data from over one million people born over 20 years finds a clear link between education and lifespan and shows that lack of education is as deadly as smoking.

    A strong link has been found between education and mortality. Data gathered from 1986 to 2006 on more than one million people estimated the number of mortalities that were linked to low levels of education.

    The research suggests that higher level of education can potentially save lives over time. To understand how, researchers studied people born in 1925, 1935, and 1945. They found a strong link between poor education and causes of death such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

    The survival rate was much higher for well-educated people as they were more likely to find ways to prevent and treat diseases. Higher education is also a strong predictor of living longer and being healthier because of factors including higher income, improved social and psychological well-being and social status.

    Dr Virginia Chang, associate professor of population health at NYU School of Medicine, said:

    “In public health policy, we often focus on changing health behaviors such as diet, smoking, and drinking.

    Education — which is a more fundamental, upstream driver of health behaviors and disparities — should also be a key element of U.S. health policy.”

    The research suggests that 145,243 deaths in the US could be saved if adults without a high school degree went on to complete that level of education.

    And 110,068 deaths could be saved in the US if adults with some college education completed their bachelor’s degree.

    Dr Patrick Krueger the first author of this study said:

    “Our results suggest that policies and interventions that improve educational attainment could substantially improve survival in the U.S. population, especially given widening educational disparities.

    Unless these trends change, the mortality attributable to low education will continue to increase in the future.”

    The findings are published in the journal PLOS ONE (Krueger et al., 2015).

    Negative Emotions are Bad for Your Health

    Negative Emotions are Bad for Your HealthIf you’re an ‘A’-Type personality and get stressed easily at everyday irritations, you could be lining yourself up for mental health problems in the future. Negative emotions are bad for your health.

    In fact, getting irritated about the small things in life is just as bad for your health as eating a poor diet or not exercising.

    Using data from two national surveys, researchers found negative responses to daily stresses such as arguments with a partner, conflicts at work, standing in long queues or sitting in traffic led to psychological distress or anxiety and mood disorders ten years later. See real readings from a legitimate psychic medium here to know more about your future anxieties. Visit TranquilMe to learn more about massages that make your body relaxed.

    The results were published in the journal Psychological Science and based on data from the Midlife Development in the United States project and the National Study of Daily Experiences, from men and women aged 25 and 74.

    Team leader Professor Charles said: “How we manage daily emotions matters to our overall mental health. We’re so focused on long-term goals that we don’t see the importance of regulating our emotions. Changing how you respond to stress and how you think about stressful situations is as important as maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine.”

    If this sounds like you, you may benefit from my 7-week How to Beat Stress and Depression email course. You will learn how to spot the early warning signs of stress and identify thoughts, feeling and behaviours and understand the links. You will also learn techniques for making changes to your behaviour patterns, how to ‘diffuse’ your negative thoughts and use imagery techniques to de-stress.

    Remember, negative emotions are bad for your health — the sooner you learn how to deal with them the better…