This week’s article is a brief review of one of the most important, fundamental, basic concepts in the entire recovery process. The faster you grasp this the faster your process goes. It’s that simple.
When we work with clients, whether individually, on the phone or in person, at workshops, and through our amazing, interactive web program that help you with overcoming your problems with food, we always repeat this point, and repeat it and repeat it. It is key! Write it out, paste it to your mirror, your fridge, and your forehead! You might get some strange looks, but in a week you will be so much farther ahead in your own healing and your self-esteem will be so much greater, you won’t care!
Here it is:
Simply put, if you are feeling anxious, unsettled, depressed, overwhelmed, angry, disgusted, resentful, frustrated, annoyed, or sad and there isn’t anything or anyone in front of you at this moment threatening you in some way, you are, without exception, experiencing some all-or-nothing thinking.
All-or-nothing thinking triggers the sensation of fear, sadness and/or anger that (unless we’re taught to acknowledge and respect our feelings) gets rolled into one chronic and permeating sense of anxiety that is the sensation that triggers us to develop patterns like:
• Anorexia (restriction),
• Bulimia (overeating and purging),
• Binge eating (overeating),
• substance abuse,
• sex addiction,
• relationship addiction,
• raging (at ourselves and/or others)
It is your all-or-nothing thought patterns that trigger those emotions that then trigger the above behavioural reactions. That’s how humans work. All of us. You’re not bad or broken or weak if you do any of the above. It’s just that you experienced high levels of stress, even trauma, and some poor modeling of coping that led you to choose from the list above rather than learn to trust yourself to resolve your stress as it arose and, if needed, to reach for healthy/life-enhancing coping strategies to strengthen and nurture yourself.
It’s time to free yourself completely from old, all-or-nothing ways of thinking and to step into reality, into the present, into life. The place to start is to remind yourself, as you go about your day, that if you’re feeling at all anxious or unsettled (assuming you’re not at risk of harm in that very moment) you’re in all-or-nothing thinking.
Don’t let the chain reaction of all-or-nothing thinking triggering emotion triggering harmful behavioural coping strategy get away on you. Notice when you’re wanting to eat and you’re not hungry/not allowing yourself to eat when you are hungry or when you’re feeling anxious, fatigued or overwhelmed, and instead of going into auto pilot say this:
“I’m feeling unsettled or wanting to use my coping strategy that means I’m in all-or-nothing thinking. Separate from food and body image stuff, what was I just thinking about? What was I telling myself about that? Is there any all-or-nothing thinking in that story at all?”
I promise you, you’ll find lots of all-or-nothing, and you’ll also find peace and freedom from food and body stress and from any underlying triggers, very quickly!
Experiment with this as best you can. Let me know how it goes! Remember, most people need a little support with this because their mind is so entrenched in the old all-or-nothing ways and automatic default to food and body focus. It’s a short process. So get started and get living now!
Whether you prefer one-on-one counselling (in-person, by phone, or email), our intensive and transformative workshops, the self-help approach with the book, or our Food is Not the Problem Online Membership Program, take action today to have a stress-free relationship with food. Sign up for our free newsletter today (see the left top side of your screen). Newsletter subscribers receive exclusive product discounts and are first in line to get on all the latest new at CEDRIC.
© Michelle Morand, 2010