How to Stop Stress Eating
and Feel Better

Many of us indulge in stress eating.
We eat when we are angry, upset, or rushed.
We eat mindlessly, without paying attention to what or how we eat.
Thus we gulp our food, eat too much, and don’t digest it well.
This leads to all kinds of stress related physical symptoms.

So how can we reduce stress eating habits?

2 women sharing a relaxed cup of tea

A Healthy Diet for Stress Relief
Includes HOW We Eat
& WHAT
We Eat

Share your food.
Eating with family and friends can be an important part of nourishing ourselves.

“Breaking bread” with those we love encourages communication, and deep supportive relationships. Eating regular meals with family, often helps build traditional personal core values and reduces stress.

Follow Traditional Ayurveda stress eating solutions:

  1. Eat only when really hungry.
  2. Eat sitting down rather than standing up. One ayurvedic doctor I learned from said, “Better to eat rocks than to eat standing up.”
  3. Eat in a quiet peaceful environment – or at least eat quietly.
  4. Eat about the same time every day. Eating at the same times every day helps bring stability and comfort to your relationship with food. It also improves the functioning of your digestion and metabolism.
  5. Ayurveda recommends eating your main meal around noon when the sun is directly overhead. This makes digestion and assimilation of nourishing food easier.
  6. Eat slowly; chew your food thoroughly. Some people suggest silly rules like chewing each mouthful of food 100 times. While this is not very practical, if you try it for awhile, it can give you a whole new sense of what it means to eat slowly, and how food will taste and digest if you do.
  7. Avoid eating when rushed, angry or upset. Otherwise you may incur hours of unnecessary indigestion and discomfort.
  8. Eat with a sense of gratitude and celebration of life’s many blessings.
  9. Sit for at least five to ten minutes after completing the meal before resuming your activities.

For additional stress eating tips, consider the following...

Eat with Awareness and Appreciation

Avoid Distractions.
This means, pay attention to what you are eating. Some ways to avoid meal time distractions include: turn off the TV, turn off the radio and turn on the phone answering machine.

Pay attention to how you feel after eating.
Does your body feel good with the meal you just ate? If you do eat with awareness you will notice an automatic “feed-back” loop that starts to tell you what diet and foods work best for your body.

Create a food journal.
Many people find it helpful to create a food journal. In your food journal write down everything you eat each day. Also write down how you felt afterward. This surprisingly simple discipline can help you become more aware of your food and create healthier food habits.

Avoid Emotional Eating
Eat Only When Truly Hungry

Often we eat out of habit or emotional desire rather than from genuine hunger. Sometimes the “inner child” in us is looking for comfort, even though the “adult” in us knows better. This adds many unnecessary and unhealthy pounds to our bodies. Dr. David R. Hawkins suggests...

"When the 'inner child' goes to eat, consider having a sign on your refrigerator door that says 'Adults only'.”

Before eating ask yourself:

  • Am I truly hungry?
  • Will food really solve this emotional upset or unhappiness?
  • Is there a better way to deal with this situation?

Stress eating habits often come from thinking of food as a source of love, or happiness. But food is only food. It is a source of nutrition for our bodies. Avoid emotional eating.

Your true happiness can be found within your own Self, not in breakfast, lunch or dinner.

When upset, try drinking a warm cup of herb tea, or even a glass of pure water instead of eating. Often we think we’re hungry, but we’re actually thirsty. Warm water or herb tea can be very soothing without excess calories.

Eat Healthy Snacks When Hungry

Eating smaller, more frequent meals or snacks when we are hungry is very reassuring to our bodies and can help to keep our blood sugar more stable.

A more stable blood sugar helps reduce stress.

Plan ahead. Have an abundance of healthy food and snacks on hand so you are less tempted to eat the “omnipresent” convenient “junk food”.

Try carrying a small container of fresh fruit or vegetables in your purse or brief case when traveling. The sense of freshness of even simple choices like baby carrots, celery pieces, apple slices or grapes can really refresh a weary traveler stuck in traffic, or on a plane. Whole grains and unrefined carbohydrates can also be a healthy snack.

The above recommendations will reduce stress eating habits.
They will promote good digestion and good health.
They will nourish you and help provide you with the strength and resiliency to meet life’s challenges more easily.

But there is more to the picture...

Eat Food That Is Genuinely
Good For You

People in different parts of the world can be very healthy eating different kinds of food. When it comes to correcting a habit of stress eating, there is no single “right answer” or “perfect diet” for all people.

A healthy diet for stress relief will depend on many things, and will vary from person to person. The proper diet for you will depend on many factors including:

  • your level of physical activity,
  • the climate you live in,
  • your budget,
  • your food tastes and preferences and
  • the selection of available food.

Explore these Stress Relief Food Choices
Some foods are just naturally more supportive of good health.
A healthy diet for stress relief, and carefully chosen stress relief foods can help us feel lots better.

Find out about stress prevention through healthy lifestyle choices

or ...

explore an overview of many natural stress relief tips which can help bring sanity to every aspect of your life by visiting
Gentle Stress Relief home page.