Can Negative Emotions Affect The Way We Eat?

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Woman eating a salad

If we don’t have the proper support and tools to safely manage our emotions, they can affect our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and behaviors – including what we eat. If you experience this, think about times you feel very depressed, anxious, angry, etc. What do your eating patterns look like during these times? If you’re gravely depressed, do you feel like eating a lot or nothing at all? If you’re angry at someone, do you feel like eating, or is your adrenaline pumping so hard that you would not be able to get a single bite in? Our emotions can certainly affect the way we eat, and this can cause further psychological or physical health concerns if our eating patterns are not healthy for us.

A 2017 study published in the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science sought to explore how emotions such as anger and disgust influenced food intake amongst people. Eighty participants participated in the dissection of several types of fish, and were then provided diverse types of foods to eat afterwards while also assessed with measures of disgust and anxiety. Results from the study showed that individuals who felt higher levels of disgust and anxiety were significantly more likely to avoid eating food compared to their counterparts who didn’t experience such elevated levels of anxiety or disgust. While this type of exploration is quite aberrant compared to daily behavior, it does show that when we’re approached with feelings of disgust, anger, and other negative emotions, we’re not always able to carry on with daily acts as simple as eating.

When it comes to mental illness and/or addiction recovery, there’s no doubt that our emotions may act like a rollercoaster. Previous studies have shown that recovery can cause many people to feel a variety of emotions – from pain to joy, sadness to happiness, calm to anxious. These changes can certainly have an affect on your eating habits while in recovery, which is why it’s so important to have a nutrition counselor who can help you ensure that you’re receiving the proper vitamins and nutrients needed to get your mind, body, and spirit back on track.

If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center to learn more about programs that could assist you on your journey to recovery. It’s never too late to seek the help you need.

Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.

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