Is it self-soothing or self sabotage? Learn the difference

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Photo: Mindy believers there are healthy ways to self soothe that do not cause you to self-destruct.

 

 

By Mindy Gorman-Plutzer

Humans are wired to avoid pain. Our bodies are designed to propel us from perceived danger by releasing hormones that allow us to run from that threat.

Our minds work differently. In an effort to run from a situation we deem painful, we develop strategies that effectively check us out from the perceived pain. I use the word pain loosely — as an umbrella for a situation that creates discomfort, fear, grief, anger or trauma. We believe that if allowed to acknowledge the pain, we won’t be able to handle it; we check out, numb out. Doing so involves a disconnect from our physical selves.

For example, eating large quantities of food when you are no longer hungry or exercising excessively takes us out of our bodies and away from the fear of feeling. We believe it is easier to lose ourselves to the obsession than to deal with what really needs attention.

Mindy-web-150x150As an Eating Psychology Coach, I work with women and men who desire a transformative approach to weight management. After initial exploration, we discover that their past efforts have not been sustainable because they’re relying on behaviors that at one time served a useful purpose.

Checking out from the “pain” is important to one’s survival (and sanity) at times. What ultimately happens, though, is these strategies create consequences — weight gain and the health issues that ensue, negative impact on self-esteem, relationships and issues that pertain to daily life.

Vicious Cycle

These efforts to “feel better” are symptoms of avoidance. While the weight had been your body’s attempt to protect you from what you fear or cannot tolerate to feel, it is keeping you in a vicious cycle of self-destruction.

There are healthy ways to self soothe that do not cause you to self-destruct. It starts with awareness of what it is you are avoiding. Get curious and accept the feeling for what it is — feelings are thoughts morphed into beliefs.

Most of the time we can re-frame such beliefs so that they are easier to accept. If we follow with compassion and forgiveness, we can let them go.

Given the chance, our bodies are unconditionally loving when we show ourselves loving kindness. These bodies of ours hold what I like to refer to as a sacred space of solitude — the place deep within us where we can always safely return. Often this space becomes forgotten as we get mired in the darkness of a distorted belief system. Loving kindness shines a light into that space. As the light spreads, replacing the darkness, we begin to feel lighter. When we feel lighter, we become lighter. We become the change we want to see.

This is, indeed, The Fifty Plus Life.

In addition to being a board-certified health coach and nutritional consultant, Mindy Gorman-Plutzer is a Certified Eating Psychology Coach in Manhattan. She is the author of The Freedom Promise: 7 Steps To Stop Fearing What Food Will Do TO You and Start Embracing What It Can Do FOR You (Balboa Press). For more information, go to www.thefreedompromise.com. Follow her on twitter at @FreedomPromise..

 

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