We've all heard of emotional eating. I certainly am no stranger to the practice, but I've noticed something interesting about my relationship to food and how I use it to suppress what I'm feeling.
We usually associate emotional eating with negative emotions, a way to feel less pain, loneliness, sadness etc. But I have noticed that these days I use food to suppress my positive emotions as much or even more than the negative ones!
Most actors won't eat before a performance, because of nerves usually. My habit was to always eat before a performance in order to suppress the nerves. But nerves aren't just fear, they're excitement and energy too. By suppressing the nerves I am calmer, but I am also suppressing every other emotion! Which obviously is not the best idea as an actor. Suppression is not selective, the numbness is all encompassing. In 2013 I experimented with acting on an empty stomach and yes, I felt the nerves more and I had to work a little harder on grounding my energy, but I was also more connected to my body.
I use food to suppress joy, excitement and energy in order to keep myself working. I don't like sitting at a computer, I'd rather be up and running around doing stuff, riding my excitement and enthusiasm like a drug. But that admin needs to get done. Blog posts need to be written. And I have no self-discipline. So instead there is always something to nibble on next to my computer, something to keep me numb enough to concentrate on the task at hand.
I recognize that is an unhealthy habit and after flirting with the idea in 2013, my 2014 resolution is to stop using food as a crutch: to stop suppressing my excitement and my fear, my joy and my sorrow. I imagine I will be less focussed, less productive, less present and less balanced for a little while as I adjust, but I trust I will find a new, more intense focus, a deeper grounded presence and a better relationship with my nervous and excited energy on the other side. What's your healthy habit resolution?
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