You’ve probably read those list blogs that offer 25 or 100 ways to love yourself more… and you’ve probably said to yourself, “I don’t have time.” Who does??
Many of those tips are not practical. They’re out of touch with the reality of modern busy lifestyles.
What does “do something new” really mean on a daily basis? What are you supposed to do? “Learn a new language”… oh sure, because you have loads of free time… “Do more of what you love”… okay, yeah, right after I take care of everything else.
However, self-love is vitally important to get control of your emotional eating because boosting self-love helps you stop filling yourself with food as a substitute.
I won’t ask you to carve out extra time for you because I know that you have enough going on already. But you can start small, by simply modifying what you already do.
Real, Easy, and Powerful Self-Love
- Smile More!
Before you roll your eyes, read on! The power of smiling is extraordinary!
There’s an important reason to smile more. Smiling can help you minimize your food cravings! Just as your emotions influence your body, your body influences your emotions.
As an emotional eater you know that food stimulates your brain’s reward centers and boosts your mood even if you were feeling awful just seconds earlier; smiling does that too!
Most of us constantly worry, obsess, and feel overwhelmed. To shift from “red alert” mode and signal well-being, observe or make a smile.
The catch: your smile has to be genuine, and big.
Even if you feel sad or stressed and think you have nothing to smile about, put a smile on your face… a cheesy goofball smile… a fake social smile… and HOLD IT for at least 2 minutes, preferably while looking at yourself in the mirror.
Hold it… Within 2 minutes the smile will become a genuine “Duchenne smile”, also known as “smiling with the eyes”. You might not be able to keep from giggling out loud!
Start the day with a smile! Greet yourself each morning with the smile you reserve for your best friend. You don’t even need a mirror. Smile while you’re driving; walking to the office; in the shower; cooking; talking on the phone. Smile at others and they will smile back. Smiles are contagious. You can’t help but widen your smile and feel better about yourself! And by “you can’t help it”… I mean it. Two studies conducted at Uppsala University in Sweden proved that we literally lose much of our control over our facial muscles and smile involuntarily when we observe other people smiling… that’s why, when you smile at yourself in the mirror, you can’t help but smile!
Bonus: according to a 2010 Wayne State University study, the span of a person’s smile actually predicts the span of their life. Could smiling be the fountain of youth?
- Say Something Nice To Yourself.
Most feelings of anxiety and unhappiness come from feeling that you don’t have enough of what we need or want: love, money, affection, validation, respect, time, talent, happiness, etc.
Stress makes us say not-so-nice things to ourselves. Positive affirmations help; however, many people feel like they’re lying when they switch to positive self-talk. “I am at my ideal weight” when they’re clearly not or “I am wealthy” when they’re broke, causes emotional resistance because the affirmations contradict reality. That’s why people to quit and insist affirmations don’t work.
But affirmations do work. You use them all the time!
Affirmations are simply statements of what you believe to be true.
“Nobody likes me,” “I’m no good,” “I can do this”, or “I’m a great listener” … whatever you routinely say to yourself is an affirmation whether it’s supportive or self-defeating.
Here’s a better approach: a non-targeted affirmation.
A friend recently went through a tough time financially. She would constantly and obsessively add up her income and expenses, which caused panic attacks because she was always in the red (and when she had those panic attacks, she would eat!). When she started using this affirmation, everything changed:
“I have enough.”
- Cultivates gratitude. Right now you don’t have enough of what you feel you’re missing… but you do have enough in other areas. This affirmation helps you focus on and appreciate what’s good and what’s working and stop hyper-focusing on what’s wrong and what’s missing (which leads to emotional eating).
- Stimulates positive feelings that encourage better choices. This is part of Dr Barbara Fredrickson’s “Broaden and Build Theory” that states: positive emotions broaden your awareness and encourage new, positive ways of thinking and behaving.
Practice saying “I have enough” whenever you have a distressing thought of lack, and you’ll notice a dramatic shift: instead of filling a void with food, you recognize that the void isn’t as big as you imagined, and that it can be filled with connection, passionate pursuits, self-love, service to others, learning, and much more.
What else do you have, in abundance? Help and guidance within our supportive Heal Your Hunger community!
- Say no.
Emotional eaters struggle with personal boundaries. We say yes even when it’s detrimental to us. Every time we so yes when we should say no, we end up overextended, exhausted, and resentful.
We often say yes because we need to feel loved and appreciated. But “no” has a very important role in our self care. Here is how to say no nicely, without guilt.
Remember the acronym CASE:
- Compliment: Thank them for thinking of you
- Answer: No (keep this brief!)
- Smile: To communicate “no hard feelings”
- Encouragement: Encourage the person
Saying no is hard, but don’t keep talking. Don’t give them your “life story.” Just say no. If you can give them the real reason, do so. If not, it’s better to say nothing.
Always let your yes be yes, wholehearted and true, and let your no be no, without guilt. This demonstrates integrity, self-love, and the ability to prioritize what’s important to you.
Example: your friend Anne wants you to help on her fundraising committee. You say, “Anne, it’s so sweet you thought of me! Unfortunately I’m already spread too thin so I have to decline. You’re so good at this! I know you’ll pull together an amazing group.”
Note that there is no apology. You have NO reason to apologize because you didn’t do anything wrong.
If someone won’t take your “no” seriously: Stick to your CASE.
Boost your self-love often with these tips, and enjoy the positive changes!
The power of smiling: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797610363775
Why we can’t help but smile when others do: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10919-010-0098-6
Smiling and the brain: https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/famelab-whats-science-behind-smile
Broaden and Build Theory https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1693418/
Personal boundaries: https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-importance-of-personal-boundaries/