Cold, overcast days bring back comforting memories of baking cookies or icing a cake. That’s one reason why when it’s cold, I love to bake, do you?
It’s great to reminisce, isn’t it? But let’s face it, sometimes a cookie isn’t ‘just a cookie’. Sometimes cookies represent warm memories of childhood, feelings of comfort, family closeness and fun – all of which time has passed by. Today we live in a stressed-out world where work pressures pursue us, children nag us, time constrains us and oh, how we long to be once again, in that sweet innocent bubble called childhood. Unconsciously you reach for that gooey, soft peanut butter cookie and are magically transported back to an age of guiltless pleasure.
Really??? Is that true?! As we age we tend to build on memory, making childhood recollections greater than they actually were. We conveniently forget the fights with our family, being bullied by the school terror or that awkward puberty growth spurt, right? Sometimes stuffing painful memories deep into our subconscious is protection. Perhaps even today you find yourself routinely turning to candy, ice cream or anything sweet to tranquillize that pain, discouragement or fear inside you. It’s called ‘unconscious’ eating.
Unconscious eating pacifies our mood. It provides soothing perceptions of security within our subconscious. Food releases chemicals that quiets our anxiety. It wraps completely around us, providing the same protective shelter as a mother’s arms when we’re too big to sit in her lap anymore. It’s a comfort during long weekends when your husband is away on yet another business trip. It calms fear while waiting for a teenager to return on an icy evening.
First, recognize how you feel at the time. Then self-analyse, creating awareness and developing strategies that practice positive reactions.
It’s important to understand that you control your feelings, feelings shouldn’t control you! Don’t apologize – they are after-all, your feelings and everyone should be entitled to feelings. If you suppress them, they will be released in unconscious ways; anger, depression, sarcasm, etc. Recognize and overcome them. You have inner power – seize it!
1 John 4:4, “You dear children are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
During moments like this, what do you find yourself craving? Craving crunchy? Potato chips, pretzels or nuts, indicates suppressed anger. Or lonely? Chocolate seduces you. Containing Phenylethylamine, it’s the same chemical emitted when you’re in love. Sad? Creamy foods such as ice cream or mac & cheese are comfort foods.
Perhaps you’re not even hungry. Ever go from cupboard to pantry to fridge, looking for something and not finding what you’re really hungry for? Don’t know, can’t decide? Most likely, you are craving water. Your brain is saying it needs water, which is found in all foods. So before you give in to temptation, try drinking a glass of water first and waiting about fifteen minutes. Usually the craving will pass.
Bored? Read a great mystery novel, watch an adventure or chick-flick, create a blog, take a walk, give yourself a facial, a bubble bath, go though old photo albums or begin writing your memoirs.
Lonely? Go to a public place like a library, antique mall, craft fair, department store or for a downtown walk. Exercise and fresh air release endorphins that provide feelings of goodwill.
Sad, feeling sorry for yourself? Volunteer at a local shelter, food bank, pregnancy center or hospital and count your blessings while cheering others.
You can overcome this. God cares, so you’re in great company: Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”