The action you take to cope is your coping mechanism, and for many women, their stand-by coping mechanisms are eating, drinking, shopping, spending time on social media or watching Netflix. These types of coping mechanisms are called buffers.
So why are so many people turning to buffers to cope?
It is because they experience a negative feeling in dealing with a difficult situation. Those negative feelings are uncomfortable, so they look to find something that will take the uncomfortable feeling away, and that is what the buffer does for them.
What is a buffer?
A buffer is something that we do to keep us from experiencing the negative emotion; it lessens the impact. It keeps us from fully experiencing our lives; we use it to avoid, deny or numb out what we are feeling.
The good news is that the situation that is occurring that you think is difficult is only difficult becomes of the thoughts you are having about it, and those thoughts create your feelings. Knowing this, we can learn to cope more effectively by being aware of our thoughts!
I hear you saying that’s great to know, but how do we do this!
Well, let’s start by going over what buffering looks like in our life.
Here is an example: You are working from home now, and your kids and husband are home too. They are in and out of your office, asking and maybe even demanding your attention. All this going on is the situation/circumstance.
The thoughts that come up for you may be; “I need time to work, and they are taking up too much of my time” or “They need to leave me alone, so I can get work done” Or, “I have so much to do, and I don’t know how I will get it all done.”
When you have thoughts like these, the feelings you have might be anger, frustration, overwhelm, and those feelings don’t feel good. When we have feelings that don’t feel good, that we view as negative, all we want to do is fix them or get rid of them.
For many women, their actions end up being, eating cookies, having a glass of wine, shopping on amazon, scrolling through social media, or binge-watching Netflix.
Those actions taken to avoid uncomfortable feelings are buffers.
We use the buffers to get away from uncomfortable feelings. And when we are finished overeating, drinking, shopping, spending time on social media or watching TV, that uncomfortable negative feeling is still there. It’s a double whammy-you are uncomfortable with what you just did, and you still are uncomfortable with the initial feeling.
It is a temporary fix. Buffering to attempt to stop yourself from experiencing the negative emotions is only a temporary solution.
Think about when you are done with eating that plate of cookies how overly stuffed you feel. Or when you have downed those few glasses of wine, how terrible you feel the next day. Or how depressed you feel looking at your bank account after your shopping spree on Amazon.
Turning to those buffers to feel better in that moment will give you a sugar rush, a pleasure hit, a rush of dopamine but it wears off and what you are left with is the thoughts that you originally had that created those feelings in the first place, you are no further ahead.
I want you to stop and think about, what are the buffers you are using right now when difficult situations occur.
Then I want you to think about what would happen if you could no longer use those buffers. For example, you can’t eat the ice cream when you are feeling lonely or bored. Have no more chips when stressed. No more scrolling endlessly on social media when you are overwhelmed.
What would happen without all your buffers?
You would have to sit with those feelings instead of managing them with your actions.
Sitting with those feelings, allowing them to be there won’t feel comfortable, but remember how terrible you felt after you buffered, so why not deal with that feeling from the start.
Now I want you to understand that those feeling are not just happening to you; they come from your thoughts.
The problem with your weight, job, marriage, or friends do not create how you feel; your feelings are created by the thoughts that you have about those things.
So, if you are having a problem with anything in your life, stop and become aware of what your thoughts are. If those thoughts are creating feelings you don’t like, then start first by allowing that feeling and then shift what you are thinking instead of turning to the buffers.
Because remember, your thoughts are creating your feelings which drive your buffering actions, and those actions lead to the results you get.
So the key to getting what you want in your life is not to run away from what you are feeling; it’s becoming aware of what your thoughts are.
So when you find yourself having a desire to buffer, first stop and be with that feeling and then ask yourself, “What am I thinking?” From there, you ask yourself is having this thought or believing this thought helping me.
If the answer is no, then you have to work on shifting to a thought that will get you to where you want to be, and that thought has to be BELIEVABLE to you.
So start making a list of all your buffers and write down when you use them.
The next time you find yourself in front of the fridge after working a very long day, I want you to ask yourself, “What feeling am I trying to avoid by wanting to eat.”
If it is stress, overwhelm, anger or frustration, you are trying to avoid then eating, drinking, shopping-any of those buffers you turn to will not make the feeling go away for good. It is only temporary.
Remember, if you want to deal with any situation successfully, you have to be aware that it all starts with your thoughts!
If you are ready to end your overeating and lose weight for the last time then click here to book a free ‘Lose the Weight’ call. On the call we will find out what has been holding you back and we will then set up a plan so that you can get started to lose weight in a sustainable way.