Rage or Anger System
The definition of rage is actually anger mixed with depression. This system is a primary source located in the reptilian part of our brain. It closely parallels the fear system. Anger is aroused when a person comes across any kind of restraint, when it is that you just can’t get what you want. It interferes with the seeking system, “what? No ***king reward?” and because it is intertwined with the fear system this is an impulsive urge yielding internalized irritability, frustration, hatred and resentment, perhaps someone got in between you and your Twinky.
Holding in the anger is really actually not the answer either. Inhibition of anger results in emotional problems, such as aggressive irritability, and when a person has experienced trauma the emotions can be dis-regulated by exhibiting inappropriate aggression towards others as well as that aggression being directed internally towards the self. For instance, you might have the idea that you want an intervention to take place between you and that Twinky, but that intervention can actually lead to an explosion of rage or anger but if that rage or anger is internalized then it can turn into hiding behaviour, sneaking food, binging food, which can turn into self harm.
Conversely, being able to express your experience in a regulated fashion can lead to feelings of empowerment and be highly adaptive, because it can open up conversation and set the stage for learning better regulatory strategies. There is an acronym which is termed HALT the acronym is a really good assessment tool in order to be able to get in touch with your bodily needs.
Are you actually really hungry? Not brain hunger, but tummy hunger. And if you are hungry then taking the time to direct yourself towards healthy food options. The learning by doing this self-assessment is that it might be that you need to take these healthy food options with you and implement a more patterned daily snacking system instead of allowing yourself to get to a ‘hangry’ state.
The A stands for Angry. Are you angry? When we feel anger we also feel the need to do something. Only sometimes the problem is, there isn’t actually anything to do. So eating is something to do. When we build up anger in our body we are building up stress and the stress needs to be released. You can often tell people who are stressed because their body is moving. They are shaking their leg when they are sitting, or pacing, or chewing their nails, and so it is good to pay attention to what you are feeling, and if you are actually needing to release this pent up energy. If you are, then you need to get yourself out of the kitchen! Not to your local fast food restaurant but to go do something physical. Take a walk, jump up and down to fast paced music, go and exercise.
The L stands for Lonely. So many people are afraid of being alone and when they are alone they don't know what to do with themselves. So they find distractions, one of which is eating, eating is a communal activity, eating actually makes you feel like as if you are in community. It takes the fear away of being alone and having to deal with it. As with anger, it is important to get in touch with your higher cortical processes, in essence, making a plan of action which also provides inhibition, direction, and cognitive regulation over this impulsive urge.
Thirsty / Tired
The T stands for Thirsty/Tired. Sometimes we actually get confused between the sensation of hunger and the sensation of thirst. We end up eating when our body is so desperate for fluids, so instead of drinking something we try to get the fluid out of the food that we are eating, causing us to eat more and more. It is really good as a starting point to drink something. Start with drinking your water and see what happens. Water fills the tummy, relaxes the system, detoxifies, and allows you to become mindful of your body and what you might really be needing.
The T also stands for Tired because a lot of us don't get really good sleep and when we are tired we look for a pick me up and that need for a pick me up is generally speaking to go and find some sugar. Unfortunately, what we do is we direct ourselves towards refined carbohydrates, when our body is actually really needing glucose. Instead of seeking out unhealthy stimulants it is good to direct yourself to healthy substitutions to stimulants. People who’s systems rely upon refined carbohydrates experience the nasty cycle of hypoglycaemia.
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