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Emotional Self-Nourishment

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>> Hello there. It's great to see you again. If you ever happen to be at the Botanic Garden in Wellington, New Zealand, you might just have to take a walk up the body to soul steps. Each of the 11 steps has a word on it, starting with body and ending with soul. The letters change one at a time. Body, bony, bond, and bend, and so on. You can also look it up online. It's easy to feel the significance, moving from grounded body upward towards soul. So why did I open with this? Well, this module focuses on nourishment. Dictionary.com defines nourishment as, one, to sustain with food or nutriment, supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth, two, to cherish, foster, keep alive, etcetera, and three, to strengthen, build up or promote. What I like about these definitions is that nourishment is not limited to food or as we hear IIN call it secondary food, you know, the food we eat. In other words, like those body to soul steps, dictionary definitions seem to honor a holistic approach. Face it. Many clients come to you needing support around food. So naturally, part of your job as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach is to help them eat to nourish the body and soul. However, nutrition is kind of like the sideshow. That might sound counterintuitive, but isn't your goal to help clients feel better in all areas of their lives? When it comes to emotional eating, in one sense, you actually want to help clients move away from relying solely on food for nourishment and to help them address any preoccupation with food by exploring other forms of nourishment. You want to help them navigate their emotions either without or beyond food. You want to empower their mindsets so that they can take actionable steps towards feeling more fulfilled in all areas of life. Does that make sense? We all have different eating stories. Some people grow up eating with their families every night, while others don't. One of my clients spent several months in Italy and marveled at how much food meant in the community. The entire family gathered for lunch together nearly every day. More often than not guest joined for dinner and/or an aperitivo. Kind of the equivalent of happy hour or cocktail hour, but they focused more on food. Do you think one reason the Mediterranean diet works is that it's so much about bringing people together? Definitely something to think about. Remember a few ideas we've explored together. It's not just what we eat, it's how we eat. How we do one thing is how we do everything. That's our focus today. How you can help clients emotionally self-nourish so that their first reaction isn't a turn to food to help them cope when they're actually seeking something that food is unlikely to provide for them. You want to help give your clients a few other tools in their toolkit for navigating emotions and illuminate their power to choose how they respond to whatever they're experiencing. One important point before we continue, the goal isn't rigidity. The goal is developing alternative coping strategies. It's important to remind clients that we all eat when not hungry sometimes. It's normal and it's perfectly okay. But always disregarding physical hunger is another story. Now there are many ways that you can encourage emotional self-nourishment. Before we share our four strategies, grab your journal. How might you help clients find alternate coping strategies so that they don't rely on food for emotional nourishment when they feel distressed? Pause the video now and write down some ideas. Now look at what you wrote down. How many of those coping strategies have you tried yourself? Have they helped? Let's go over five ways that you can support client self-nourishment. Number one, choose emotional connection. Self-nourishment includes empowering yourself to find helpful coping strategies for emotions. Let's review the four guideposts of emotional healing that we discussed early on in this course. One, create space for release. Two, practice radical acceptance. Three, learn to tolerate distress. And four, develop self-healing coping skills. Creating space for release and practicing radical acceptance both require connecting with and going through emotions, rather than trying to numb, escape, control or self-soothe with, for example, food. We've provided several handouts in your Learning Center throughout this course that can help clients connect with emotions, such as the emotions checklist. After clients can identify emotions, a few questions to explore might be can you allow the emotion, how can you nurture or comfort it, how can you use it in helpful ways. Maybe a client needs time to wallow a bit which is completely normal. Everyone has a different way of moving through and figuring out how to use emotions. Number two, self-soothe. Many of us are quick to soothe others, but for some reason we don't do the same for ourselves. Maybe we tough it out or we minimize what we're going through. I recently heard the idea that shame stems in part from the idea that our problems aren't as bad as other people's problems. So they don't count somehow. We don't deserve to feel upset by them. So what do we do? We kind of self-police our emotions. Shame runs deep and emotional eating often involves shame. Guilt is the belief that we've done something wrong, but shame is the belief that there's something wrong with us. When we practice self-compassion, our soothing systems operate as they would when we nurture others. Self-soothing means noticing and accepting the pain which helps us move forward, rather than looking for coping strategies that leave us stuck in the pain. While there are many ways to self-sooth, here are five ways that you can help clients practice. One, stay in the present moment, one moment at a time. For example, engage multiple senses thoughtfully. Two, find meaning in pain. Viktor Frankl, author of "Man's Search for Meaning," wrote a lot about this. To borrow his words, "In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice." Three, contribute or give to something. Four, cheerlead yourself. And five, seek support. Number three, create a self-healing toolbox for distressing emotions. In terms of scope of practice, you want to be careful when using the word heal. Instead, illuminating the tools that clients already have and helping them gather more empowers them. A self-healing toolbox is one way to help them figure out how to find emotional relief, so they don't turn to food or other unhelpful band-aids instead. We included the Emotional Toolkit handout earlier in this course. So we built on that idea with a Self-Healing Toolbox handout which you can find in your Learning Center. One particularly useful tool is diaphragmatic breathing. We included a handout specifically on that including some very basic anatomy, how to do it, and some benefits. Again, the more tools your clients have, the better prepared they'll feel to navigate difficult emotions when they arise. Number four, practice gratitude. There's a lot out there in the wellness world about the importance of positive thinking. And, yes, a positive mindset is helpful. However, emotions run deep. You can change your thinking on the surface without ever addressing the underlying emotional baggage and you'll still probably feel stuck in some way. Gratitude feels deeper than mindset because it stems from a feeling. Happiness is often viewed as some kind of magical endpoint that you'll reach when everything else lines up just right. At the same time, it can feel like it's always moving away from you no matter how hard you try to get closer to it. Do you ever feel that way? We're all trying so darn hard to be happy. But guess what, you can be happy anytime you want. And if you choose to be grateful, you can let happiness right on that. Here's some food for thought. "It is not happiness that makes us grateful. It's gratefulness that makes us happy." Gratitude is a powerful healer. It can boost mental health by reducing stress, frustration and regret, fostering resilience, and improving self-esteem. It can also boost physical health by reducing aches and pains and increasing overall feelings of health. It can open the door to relationships, and it can even help you sleep better. Gratitude also slows you down. Think about it. It's kind of hard to feel grateful on the go, isn't it? When you feel grateful, what do you do? You usually pause and think about what's going well in your life. It changes your perspective by helping you see the bigger picture, even if it feels like a lot is going wrong at the moment. We tend to look for meaning in life through what we do, but the true magic can be found in the stillness. Finally, gratitude is empowering. You choose gratitude just as you choose how to respond to distress. For example, I like to take a few minutes before dinner to say grace. It's something that my family always did when growing up and it forces me to stop the chatter inside my head and get present in a positive way. It reminds me that no matter how much stress I feel, there's so much to be thankful for. It's very grounding. Have I sold you on gratitude yet? Number five, value values. What really matters to your clients? Are they living in line with their values? How might they create space in their lives to do so? If clients are struggling with eating, they might be so wrapped up in that aspect of life that they are not only disconnected from their values, they're unsure of what they are anymore. Food has become a central part of their lives, and they might not even know the reason behind their eating habits. This can relate to emotional eating habits themselves, such as mindlessly eating, rather than spending that time pursuing goals and interests. It might also relate to attempts to control eating habits. For example, avoiding social activities to avoid overeating. Either way, they're disconnected from values because they're so focused on food. You can help them refocus through a shift to internal locus of control and self-connection to the why behind their current behaviors. Grab your journal right now, pause the video, and write down some ideas for how you might help clients explore their connection to personal values. Okay, let's stop there for today with a brief recap. You can help clients emotionally self-nourish, so that they don't turn to things like food to help them cope. Five ways to do that are to choose emotional connection, self-soothe, create a self-healing toolbox for distressing emotions, practice gratitude, and value values. Again, the goal isn't rigidity. The goal is developing alternate forms of nourishment so that they don't always turn to food. We included several handouts in your Learning Center that you can practice applying to yourself and use with clients. That's all for now. I'll see you again soon.

Video Details

Duration: 13 minutes and 25 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 5
Posted by: integrativenutrition on Mar 14, 2019

Emotional Self-Nourishment

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