We all have our favorite comfort foods that we turn to when we are feeling sad, stressed out, or anxious. For some it may be chocolate chip cookies. For others it might be mac & cheese or ice cream. Usually these comfort foods are high in fat and sugar, because those ingredients rush into our bloodstreams and give us an immediate "high" . Hello! That's why they're called comfort foods -- they fill us up and temporarily make us feel safe and happy. But here are some alternatives that you might want to try that won't add any bulk to your waistline or send your blood sugars soaring.
5 THINGS YOU CAN TURN TO FOR COMFORT INSTEAD OF FOOD!
1. YOUR BREATH
When you feel anxious, fearful or stressed, try focusing on your breathing. This brings you back to the present moment and gets you out of the thinking mind. Do Dr. Andrew Weil's 4-7-8 breathing technique. Breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, and breathe out through your nose for 8 counts. Repeat this cycle 4 times. Click here to see a demonstration by Dr. Weil himself.
I'm not talking about soothing, relaxing music here, although that does have its time and place. But when the stress really hits, you need to let it out! Play your favorite song as loud as you can and get crazy with it! Dance around, sing your head off, and release that pent up energy. Your mood will improve, your body will relax, and all that pent up stress will disappear! Try dancing around to this song the next time your troubles are weighing you down.
3. A CUP OF TEA
If your belly just really needs something, try sipping on a cup of hot tea. Even if you add a small amount of sweetener such as raw sugar or agave, this is a very low fat and low calorie way to curb your hunger and feel satisfied. Try sipping chamomile for relaxation or lemon for a quick pick-me-up. Peppermint tea will soothe an upset stomach and ginger tea will knock out a stress headache. Click here to see my favorite brand and flavor of tea.
Making a mental list of 10 things you are grateful for can take you from a state of distress and unease to a much more calm and positive place. Instead of reaching for that candy bar, list at least 10 things, people, or blessings that you have to be thankful for right now. As you do, you will be filled with love and gratitude, which are far sweeter than any candy or treat. Then go find someone to hug and fill your life with even more sweetness! Visit this site for tips on starting a gratitude journal.
Noticing the needs of someone else may be just what we need when we are stressed, sad, or lonely. Serving another person helps take us out of our own thoughts about ourselves, our problems, and our fears. Giving regular service to others has been linked to increased immunity, tranquility, social trust, confidence, and self-esteem. Focusing outward instead of always turning inward will help us be more at peace with ourselves and with life. Click on this link to see the inspiring story of a woman who is helping others.