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Eating For Energy Or For Stress Relief?

Eating For Energy Or For Stress Relief?
Tibetan Food

About a year ago I had a major shift in the way I thought about eating, and it has improved my health ever since.

The way I used to eat: I associated unhealthy food with pleasure, and healthy foods with pain.

I would think about that burger, fries, and milkshake all day. About how juicy and tasty it would be, how satisfied I would be afterwards, and how good it make me feel.

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Isn’t this what most people do? They ‘reward’ themselves with chocolate cake when they have ‘been good’ or ‘deserve a break’, where the salad feels like punishment.
Sometimes after an especially hard day at work, when I was stressed out and exhausted, I would reward myself with some junk food. In a sense, I was using food like medication. The food was a drug I took to relieve stress!

That’s the fundamental problem. If you associate unhealthy foods with pleasure and healthy foods with pain, then eating right will always be difficult. Mentally, you are telling yourself that eating healthy food is a burden and hard to do, so what do you expect? Eventually, you will lose that battle of will power.

But then one day I was watching a Tony Robbins video, and he helped me make this shift in thinking…

The way I eat now: I associate unhealthy food with pain and healthy food with pleasure.

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Have you ever noticed that after gorging yourself on that burger, fries, and shake…you feel a little bit tired? Have you ever had indigestion, and felt like a brick was lodged in your stomach?

These are the sort of feelings you can begin to associate with unhealthy food.

Tony Robbins took it a step further. He asked you to vividly imagine your heart and arteries being clogged, and showed you graphic images to imprint it in your brain.

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Warning, clicking the links below can be disturbing if you have a weak stomach!

The next time you are thinking about eating that slice of pizza, with all the oil and fat dripping off of it, picture your arteries filling up with that fat like this. Picture a surgeon having to cut open your chest and putting a stint in your heart so that the blood can keep flowing. Try to find a picture that actually makes you feel a little bit sick.

If you vividly imagine these things, you can train yourself to actually feel pain (in the form of nausea or disgust) at the idea of eating unhealthy foods.

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Similarly, you can train yourself to associate positive images with healthy food. Imagine yourself with tons of energy, ready to take on the world, and achieving high levels of productivity (making more money).

Start to think of your body like it was a super-sonic airplane that you fill with high-energy jet fuel. You wouldn’t pour sugar in the gas tank of such a marvelous machine, so why put it into your body?

Use whatever is motivating to you in particular and train yourself to recall that image any time you need it. Eventually, just bringing up that picture in your mind can cause the same emotions to flood your body. This will help you make the right decisions when eating.

Instead of using food to make you feel better, use it as a way to get energy, and you’ll see dramatic changes in your health over time!

Brian Armstrong is an entrepreneur who achieved financial freedom working for himself by age 23. You can learn how to start your own business, transition out of the 9-to-5 rat race, and get other life-hack tips on his website.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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