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4 Ways Be Emotionally Strong | Stop Eating Your Feelings

Last updated on April 10, 2020

You can also download the audio version from the Eating Enlightenment website here.

Today we are continuing our journey to stop emotional eating.

Here are a few exercises you can do to increase your acceptance of your emotions to learn how to be emotionally strong:

1 – Reflect on what you currently value – take a good look at yourself and clarify what you currently. Gracefully admit you may over-value your appearance, weight, and opinions of others.

2 – Reflect on your ideal values – instead of over-valuing appearance, weight and the opinions of others, what else would you like to value?

3 – Imagine you have died and people are at your funeral – what would you like them to be saying about you?

4 – List out various aspects of life and see how important they are to you – just looking at various life aspects can help broaden your perspective to see what’s truly important

To see Pinterest ‘training’ images visit my pinterest page at –https://www.pinterest.com/eating_enlightenment/boards/

How To Be Emotionally Strong Context

We are at the heart of this training. If you think about spokes in a wheel, this training about how to handle difficult emotions without using food is the center. It involves the transformation of negative energy via acceptance instead of willpower.

This is extremely difficult. This is a hard skill to master.

One of the reasons this skill is difficult is because there are so many spokes on the wheel. 

For example, If you don’t know about fullness, or the good foods that make you full, or growth mindset or speaking softly do yourself, or understanding your emotional needs or not beating yourself up, or not eating regularly and noticing you’re hungry – there are thousand different things that if you miss one spoke the whole wheel collapse.

This is why you must have a Growth Mindset – because it’s going to take you a few months of practice and a lifetime to master!

Learning how to become emotionally strong is difficult!

what's the difference between growth mindset and fixed mindset

It’s like a bridge. If you take out one stone the whole bridge collapses.

So that’s why we have put this training right here, so we have all the supporting pieces and now we can really just work with the energy of the negative emotion.

Now so far we’ve primarily talked about acceptance by feeling the motion, sifting through the emotion and really noticing what the emotion is pulling you to do, and then sitting with that pull, and letting yourself feel the impulse without reacting.

enlightened eating

We’ve also started developing ways to handle the emotion after you have felt it from various forms of self-care using the different forms of senses, to journaling and reflecting on the motion to find meaning, and personal practices that you have come up with yourself.

Not being able to feel an emotion is one reason why you may be hungry even after eating.

Here is another post where I talk more extensively about just sitting with an uncomfortable emotion.

Today we are now increasing our ability to sit with the emotion by increasing our willingness.

Willingness is an extremely important concept.

The idea of willingness is fundamental to the whole premise of eating enlightenment.

The premise of eating enlightenment is that practice equals enlightenment, the means equal the ends.

So normally when we try to lose weight or eat healthy and do all these other things, we are doing these activities to avoid negative feelings.

We are using discipline and willfulness, but the intention is to avoid pain.

Paradoxically, this intention backfires. It’s an unskillful intention. Remember the means equally end.

So if you are starting out with an intention to avoid reality, then you are not an alignment with truth, and when we are out of alignment then we suffer.

Be Your Own Light

So now we are flipping the script our intention is to be willing to feel negative emotions. Now previously you would have been overwhelmed by the negative feelings but now you have the wheel of skills to support you. Now you can’t transform these negative feelings.

And by transform I mean through the power of acceptance, the power of being willing to feel – this is how to become emotionally strong!

Now these are great ideas, but let’s create some more mindsets around being willing to feel the negative emotion.

Learning how to experience a negative emotion without reacting is how to be emotionally strong.

Today we are going to be focusing on our values. The traditional example of values might be seen as a pregnant woman who wants to drink alcohol.

She wants the immediate happiness of having a beer, but she is willing to sacrifice and feel her anxiety because she values the life she is bringing into this world.

This will help her form a more secure bond with her child.

So our values are reasons why we are willing to experience negative emotions.

Now, expressing your values and articulating them is the point of this video. There are few different ways we are going to approach your values.

Exercise: How Do I Judge Myself?

We all evaluate ourselves. If you notice that you tend to feel good or bad based on how you are doing in certain realms, that provides information that you really care about these areas of your life.

In this exercise, grab your notebook and bring awareness to the criteria you use to evaluate yourself. This is a purposeful contemplative type of thinking (not the ‘mental’ chatter we normally associate with our thoughts.

⦁ List areas or criteria that matter to you. You do not need to rank how you are doing. Just list what matters.

⦁ You also do not need to represent what you’d like to have matter to you, only what you observe actually matters. So this means if you judge yourself based on your weight, appearance, eating habits, please be honest here about these judgments mattering to you.

⦁ Now, imagine that you could represent your life in terms of a pie chart. Place the factors you listed above in a pie chart and represent each factor in a way that symbolizes its relative importance in your life now.

For example, if you listed relationships with friends and family, and you feel that symbolizes one-third of what matters to you now, label one-third of the pie to reflect that. If eating and weight is important to you then please reflect how much a proportion of the pie chart these areas represent.

⦁ Now, list areas that you would like to matter in your life. Make a new pie chart that reflects how you aspire to live your life. What are the differences between the current pie chart and your ideal pie chart?

stop late night binge eating
The idea here is to catch yourself not living up to your own values, but not to judge yourself!

Exercise: Funeral Meditation

I’d like to begin this exercise in an unconventional manner. I’d like to ask you for permission, as this exercise may create a feeling of vulnerability. If you are willing, continue; if that feels too unsafe, you may skip over the exercise.

In this meditation, allow yourself to feel, rather than thinking theoretically. You don’t need to write just yet; instead, immerse yourself in this experience—you may write later.

⦁ Imagine that your life has ended and you are able to observe your own funeral.

Consider how to be emotionally strong at a time of death:

– What do you want your life to symbolize?
– What would your tombstone say?
– How would you want specific people in your life to remember you?
– What exactly would you want people to say about you?
– How might friends memorialize you? Family? Your partner?
– How might people look as they spoke about you?
– How might your obituary read?

⦁ Notice thoughts that arise in this process, as well as feelings in your body. Return to noticing what you ideally would like your life to stand for.

⦁ In this process, you may imagine yourself pursuing certain ideal activities people may reflect upon.

⦁ Finally when you are ready, bring your attention back to the present moment.

⦁ Then consider for several minutes how your life resembles how you would like to live. Notice where you find yourself less active than you would like in areas that you know matter.

⦁ What do you notice as you reflect on what you want your life to stand for? In all of this, how important was your appearance?

stop overeating

Exercise: Keeping Track of Values

The following chart lists twelve areas of life that are valued by many people. We are concerned with your quality of life in each of these areas, and for each there are several aspects you’re asked to rate.

Ask yourself the following questions when you make ratings in each area, being aware that not everyone will value all of these areas or value all areas the same. Rate each area according to your own personal view of it.

You may find it useful to bring your attention to really feeling what the value tastes like, rather than studying this list in a technical sense. You may consider what you wish might occur in each of these areas.

Please take your time and fill out this chart with a quality of mindfulness and acceptance of all that you notice. This will help you learn how to become emotionally strong.

Area Of Life

Family (other than immediate)

Marriage/partner/intimate relationship


Friends/social life






Physical self-care (meal prep, sleep, exercise)


Arts/aesthetics (fashion, literature, music)

Current importance: How important is this area in your life? Rate the importance on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning that the area is not at all important and 10 that it is very important.

Overall importance: How important is this area in your life as a whole? Rate the importance on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning that the area is not at all important and 10 that it is very important.

Action: How much have you acted in the service of this area during the past week? Rate your level of action on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning that you have not been active at all with this value and 10 that you have been very active with this value.

Satisfaction with level of action: How satisfied are you with your level of action in this area during the past week? Rate your satisfaction with your level of action on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning that you are not at all satisfied and 10 that you are completely satisfied with your level of action in this area.

Concern: How concerned are you that this area will not progress as you want? Rate your level of concern on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning that you are not at all concerned and 10 that you are very concerned.

Strangely enough, when we are honest about our lack of living in alignment with values, then we can learn how to be emotionally strong in order to live in more alignment.

Please try this short 8 question quiz to see if you have Binge Eating Disorder.

You’ll be asked about the 8 main clinical criteria used to medically diagnose. 

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