Triggered by Christmas!

So my focus in the last week or so has become- why am I triggered, or what about the Christmas season triggers me to eat chocolate (because it IS the go to food for me in this situation) to the extent that I do?

I’m not going to go into details about what or how much I eat (it’s less than you may think, but more than what’s good for me, or that I want to be eating). That’s not important to what’s going on. There can be so many reasons why this happens, why I am triggered, every Christmas season. I believe most of the reasons are connected to my childhood. There is also the emotional component. I get triggered, emotions are activated, and in order to cope with or avoid those emotions I reach for chocolate.

We all recognize that the Christmas season is probably the most difficult season for so many people. There is such hype, such frenetic energy, such high expectations around it all that even without our childhood experiences that have been reinforced by repeated similar incidences, we are often overwhelmed and over stressed by it all. If we do add in the emotions triggered by earlier events (which we ALL have recorded in our subconscious) then it’s no wonder that we do things that are not what we would choose to do on the logical conscious level.  Remember, as I have mentioned in previous blog posts that our subconscious remembers EVERYTHING we have ever experienced, felt, tasted, touched, seen, learned, etc. That is our programming. Also remember that our subconscious’ main and most important job is to protect us from danger, be it real or imagined; and our subconscious has a broad definition of the word danger. For example, if as a child I didn’t feel loved to the same degree that I perceived my siblings to be loved, therefore causing me to not feel safe then my subconscious mind would take steps to have me do something, or not do something to make me feel safe. For some people it might be comfort eating with food (that’s been my defense), others may choose drugs or alcohol, still others may act out in ways that bring attention to them even if it’s negative attention. There are many ways; those are just a few examples. To our logical, and quite often to our grown up mind, those defense or coping methods don’t make sense; but remember two things, 1) the conscious logical mind doesn’t understand or deal with emotions and 2) these methods were developed by a younger, less knowledgeable, less experienced mind. Our subconscious did the very best that it could with the information and skills it had at the time.

When working to change the way we act or react to stimulus that triggers us, we need to be able to change our perception around those triggering events so that we can act or react in a way that best supports and benefits us as the people we are now, with the skills, knowledge and experience we have now. It’s also important to recognize, be thankful and grateful for the coping methods we did develop because they were the best we (our subconscious) could create at the time. They are just not serving us in the best way anymore.

I’m going to list what has come to mind so far as to what I believe are some of the reasons, experiences or events that may have created the triggers, or are the triggers for me. On the logical level they may not seem relevant or make sense but remember we are ruled (mostly) by emotion (or more specifically by the emotions attached to experiences). In no particular order: my father was a nasty alcoholic; I am the youngest child; I often felt left out, alone, lonely as a child; events happened to others in my family that I didn’t have the experience level to deal with when I witnessed them; I don’t know if food was scarce but there is a feeling of not getting enough/not getting my share; there is also a feeling of not getting enough love/my share of love; in an alcoholic home there is little sense of safety or stability; activity levels/fun/physical experiences; and boredom. There may be more that comes forth as I continue to work through this. Recall too that all of those early events have been compounded and reinforced over the years by similar events/experiences. We continue receiving our programming our entire lives until we die. We can make changes (to our programming), permanent ones, on the subconscious level though with hypnosis and other techniques.

I’m also remembering and working my beliefs and training in regards to the importance of words – we don’t like loss, so don’t look for [weight] loss, look for health, vitality, energy. That what we focus on is what we get more of; so if we’re focusing on not eating chocolate, we eat more chocolate. If we’re focusing on how difficult something is, it becomes more difficult. I need to focus on what I want, not what I don’t want. We all do!

The biggest step that is helping me to begin to change my perception and react differently right now is being aware! Aware that I’m in that season (and state) of being vulnerable, aware that out of sight out of mind is helpful right now, aware that even though I am only a bit busier than normal it does not feel like enough right now, and that’s ok; and aware that I have the power to make the changes I desire.  We all do!

I’d like to leave you with these words:

things-wont-get-better, and thinking better requires consistent repeated practice!

Life…

Life has been busy lately and I’m struggling to find an appropriate topic for this weeks blog, hence why I’m late posting it. At this time of year when we come into the tradition of celebrating Christmas, or perhaps you celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, or another tradition close to your heart, it can be a time of great stress, sadness, happiness, peace, and a whole plethora of emotions and physical weariness. 

So how do you get through it without tearing your hair out, or being overwhelmed emotionally, physically or both?

I’ve got some ideas. 🙂

Remember, life is about balance. So indulge…a little, shop without overwhelming yourself, eat healthy 80-90% of the time, focus on quality sleep, and don’t get caught up in the commercialism of the season. Sounds simple doesn’t it?

1. Don’t panic- You don’t have to do everything, and if you have children they will sense your stress and may tend to act out which makes the whole situation worse. Take 30 mins a day for yourself. You and your sanity are worth it!

2. Limit travel if you can. If you’ve got your family and his family and other relatives to visit, try to spread the visits out over a few weeks, instead of trying to fit them all in within a few days.

3. Shop online! You can get great deals, often free shipping at this time of year, and returns policies are pretty liberal with online stores nowadays.

4. Get organized! Make lists. Mark important dates/events etc on the calender where everyone involved can see it.

5. Delegate! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s not about perfection, it’s about fun and time with family and feeling connected. Get the kids to do things appropriate for their age, or helping when they can do some things with your guidance.

6. Don’t take on too much! You don’t have to do it all, and you can’t do it all. This is supposed to be fun remember, for you too, not just everyone else.

7. Don’t be afraid to say no. It’s ok not to bake something for the school sale, or to say no to one more potluck or cookie exchange.

8. When it comes to gift giving, set a budget and stick to it. I spent many years having a budget of $20 per person to spend, and I made the most of it and was happy with the gifts I gave because it required thought and effort, but also because I didn’t go into debt over Christmas, which would have added to my stress!

9. Let things roll off your back! Don’t take things personally. Remember everyone is undergoing their own stress right now and you don’t know what’s going on in their life. Let it go. Christmas is about giving, so give everyone a little extra slack…including yourself.

10. Limit coffee and other stimulating foods/drinks. Eat regularly- every 3-4 hours, even a little snack containing both complex carbs and protein is best. Consider a B Complex supplement from a whole food plant based source to help with energy and stress. If you really get stressed at this time of year, then consider a stress formula supplement from the same type of source. Also consider the following:

Eat whole foods rich in minerals and B vitamins.
–Green leafy vegetables – romaine lettuce, kale, collard greens, spinach
Whole grains – brown rice, quinoa, teff, oats
Raw or dry-roasted nuts and seeds – almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
Cooked beans – a rich source of magnesium (a vital stress-relief mineral).
Eat cruciferous (cabbage family) vegetables that support enzymes that metabolize stress hormones more readily.
–Cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel’s sprouts.
Consume natural-sedative foods or beverages an hour before bed.
–Oats, warm milk, protein sources high in the amino acid tryptophan (cheese, meat, turkey, etc.), chamomile tea
Fish or fish oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the stress response.
Break the fast and eat a good-sized breakfast.
Skipping breakfast and drinking a cup of liquid cortisol (coffee) first thing in the morning will surely spike stress hormones.

I hope these tips help make your holidays easier to get through as no matter how much we may look forward to them- they are a time of stress. Your body/brain doesn’t know the difference between good and bad stress, it just knows you are stressed.