The trigger: Little daily nuisances
It’s a perplexing phenomenon that the smallest annoyances can trigger the most dramatic emotional reactions, particularly for people recovering from an eating disorder. When you habitually block or stuff down your feelings with food or other unhealthy substances or behaviors, those feelings can erupt later.
Sometimes all it takes is a seemingly small problem like car trouble, someone accidentally bumping into you, or a loved one doing or saying something that was different than what you wanted. The next thing you know, you’ve completely lost your cool.
If you’re used to putting others first or avoiding confrontation, you may cope with these challenging emotions by harming yourself with excessive food or exercise, or by restricting your food.
The tool: Accept what you get
As we talked about in an earlier trigger post, it’s essential to let go of needing things to be perfect. When things go wrong, the best way to cope is to accept what’s happening, handle it the best you can, and even use it as a growth experience.
Let’s say you’re rushing to get out of the house and you drop your keys in a hedge. Perhaps that’s the universe reminding you to regroup and slow down. Maybe you need to contact the person you were going to meet and tell them you’ll be a few minutes late.
More than once I’ve been in this type of situation and the other person told me they were just about to cancel or reschedule anyway. I genuinely appreciated that newfound space in my day. I’ve used those experiences to pause and reflect on whether there is too much on my plate some weeks.
Things may not always be how you want them, but they will always work out – not how we planned, but still okay. Accepting daily nuisances isn’t the same as neglecting your commitments or giving up on your plans. It means you don’t need to use or restrict food to cope whenever things change.