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Tag emotions

Stay or Run? Dealing with Discomfort

Tags: , , , EFT, Emotions
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Sitting with emotional discomfort is difficult. We all have strategies to cope with/run from emotional pain.

This is not surprising, as usually, this is what we have been taught, albeit unintentionally. Don’t cry, have a sweet; don’t be sad; stop making such a fuss; it’s not so bad; just get on with it… sound familiar? Not only do we not like feeling pain, we don’t like to see loved ones in pain either, which is often the origin of these sentiments. And having learned this as children, it becomes how we act from our subconscious space as adults.

However, true freedom ultimately comes from embracing our emotional pain, from sitting with the discomfort. This requires awareness, and patience with ourselves, as we reprogram our reflexes – to hurt, pain, anger, stress – into mindful reactions.

In her book Daring Greatly, Brené Brown (Ph.D., LMSW), research professor & author says: “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy… Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.

EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques, also known as ‘tapping’) effectively releases negative feelings and emotions that have been impacting people for years, and helps to instil new beliefs which lead to more conducive ways of living. We open up to enhanced states of well being, and feel better, work better, live better. Watch a video or read more about EFT here.

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Cravings : When the Mind is Hungry

Tags: , , , , Health, Stress Relief
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The title of this article does not refer to craving intellectual pursuits, but to that intense desire to keep eating a specific food after our hunger pangs have been satisfied.

There’s a real distinction – cravings are not the same as hunger:

  • Hunger is regulated by the body, while cravings are dictated by the mind.
  • Hunger is usually a general need for food while cravings can be for very specific foods
  • Hunger is about surviving physically. Cravings are often about surviving emotionally

Seen in this light, cravings are not the actual problem,
they are merely symptoms of underlying issues.

Some of these could be:

Association
This is when we link certain foods with certain activities. For example, you could be perfectly happy reading a book for hours on end but as soon as you turn on the television your mind goes to the kitchen. Or as soon as you come home from work you reach for a glass of wine. As soon as you have the kids in bed you feel the need for cake. Etc.

Procrastination
Write this report, or get a snack?
Do the laundry? Hmmm I feel hungry, I’ll just have a bag of chips first.

Boredom
This is a popular time for cravings to surface. God forbid we have to sit with ourselves for a few minutes.

Emotional States – Comfort/Distraction
Food often gives us comfort, and when we experience intense negative feelings, we can reach for food to feel soothed. This is especially true if, as children, we were given food to calm and quiet us by well meaning caregivers.
Loneliness, Anger, Sadness, Guilt, Depression, etc., these are all states that can feel very uncomfortable. Not many of us have been taught to sit with discomfort and see ourselves through, so food becomes an instant comforter. As well as a distraction from the discomfort.

Physical States
Certain foods, like sugar, can trigger an increase in our endorphin levels, serving to boost our moods and make us feel happier. So though sugary foods may result in instant happiness, it is short lived, and fails to address the real cause of the negative feeling that we are experiencing.

Then the guilt/criticism etc. that we may feel as a result of having eaten the desired food ends up making us feel worse in the long run.

The reasons why we intensely crave certain foods at certain times are different for everyone.

What’s your reason? Here’s one way to find out:

The next time your mind prompts you to reach for the food you crave, do this : just pause. Go ahead and eat it, but just pause for a few moments before you reach for it.

In that pause, ask yourself what you’re feeling. Become aware of the reason behind the craving in that particular moment.

You may be surprised to discover every time you stop to do this that the reasons are not always the same! One time it may be sheer boredom, another time may be anxiety, and the next time you may be trying to avoid feeling sad.

See for yourself. What’s under your craving?
That’s the issue that needs addressing, should you wish to do so.


Notes on Willpower

If cravings come upon us in times of stress, when we are not feeling our best, when we are tired, how on earth are we going to summon reserves of willpower to stave off eating the very foods we think are going to bring us comfort in those times?
How sustainable is it?
How guilty/bad/ashamed/weak/etc. do we feel if we “give in”?

A study conducted by Hertfordshire University (2007) found that women who tried to stop thinking about eating chocolate ended up eating 50% more than those who actually talked about their cravings*


Trying to cut out all thoughts of your favourite, fattening food may actually make you eat more!

* Source : BBC News

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Integrative Counselling Hong Kong, EFT therapy Hong Kong

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Are you living your best life? If not, what's stopping you?

I provide integrative counselling for individual adults and adolescents. Sometimes you just need to talk, even if you don’t know where to start or what the problem is. My approach is to create a safe, supportive, non-judgemental environment, so you can voice your concerns while feeling heard.

My practice as a counsellor focuses on a mind-body-social approach to therapy. I combine EFT tapping and somatic therapies with traditional talk therapy to assist you in resolving your difficulties.

I offer an integrative approach as every person is different and this allows me to be flexible, tailoring sessions to individual needs. Research has shown that we have two distinct levels of awareness, embodied (physical body) and conceptual (mental structure, e.g., thoughts). I listen to both, the the narrative as well as the stress held in the body, and work together with you to come to the best possible outcome for you in the present.

I can help you work through stress, anger, low moods, low self-esteem, job related stress, phobias, grief, loss, old or recent trauma as well as unresolved childhood issues, and any other emotional blocks which may feel overwhelming or are keeping you stuck.

Ultimately our stresses and limitations are held not only in our mental narratives but also in our physical bodies. I also work with uncovering root causes of physical symptoms and any unconscious triggers which may be keeping symptoms chronic, and work with you to find resolution for optimal well being.


Falguni Mather, Counselling, EFT, Hong Kong

Private Sessions :

Wherever you are at right now, I believe in you. I am fully invested in doing my part to get you to connect to, and use, your inner resources, so you can move from a place of discomfort to one of positive transformation.

Workshops:

Working in groups can be a powerful way to access change within you. It can often bring new perspectives to help you see your situation a new light, resulting in new solutions. Furthermore, working in groups can ease a sense of isolation as it can build connection with the other members. The same as individual sessions, group sessions and workshops are also confidential. Consider attending my monthly EFT tapping circle or organising a group for people experiencing similar issues. This is also a cost effective way of accessing support.


I hold a Masters in Counselling from Monash University, Australia.
A member of The Hong Kong Professional Counselling Association (HKPCA) and the Australian Counselling Association (ACA), I adhere to their code of ethics.