5 + 1 Coping with Anxiety & Stress: Part 4, Taste
anxiety | Breath | Breathing | coping strategies | cortisol | fight-or-flight | glimmers | heart rate | limbic system | Nervous system | stress | stress response

April 1, 2024

5 + 1 Coping with Anxiety & Stress: Part 4, Tastes

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If you haven’t already read the 5 + 1 Coping with Anxiety & Stress: Introduction to Glimmers, I would recommend you check that post out first to have context.

And to read more about visual glimmers, you can find our 2nd post in the series here, or read more about auditory glimmers in our 3rd post in the series here.

Dreamstime Xxl 31114163Food can be a reliable coping strategy for most of us. If you are struggling with your food choices, it could be tied to past stressor as much as present stressors. When we are stressed, we like food that not only has positive memories tied to it but is also predictable. When we are feeling overwhelmed and burned out, the last thing we usually want to do is make another decision. This is why restaurant food and convenience foods are our go-to because we know exactly what fast food meal we are going to choose, and it will taste the same, whether you order it at 1pm on a Tuesday in Denver or 10pm on a Sunday in Chicago. Our overwork brains delight in this predictability.

The key to taste glimmers is to not only know what they are ahead of time, but also know ourselves well enough to predict when future us will be drawn to the predictability of Chipotle or McDonalds.

Most of us are likely familiar with our comfort foods. I encourage you to start listing them, but also include a note along each one as to why they are your comfort food. What about that specific food? Ask yourself what memories, visuals come up when you think of that food. (For more guidance, check out the 10 minutes of Self Care taste glimmers meditation). Maybe you will notice there are parts of the glimmer you can hold on to more than other parts. For example, maybe a homemade meal reminds you of your grandma. Likely, your grandma made you feel safe or taken care of. So, your brain will push you towards that meal to feel safe and taken care of. But what if simply pulling up those memories with your grandma make you feel that way and you don’t need the food.Dreamstime Xxl 6360828

Another way to use taste to create an experience that forces your brain on the taste and away from anxious and/or ruminating thoughts. I usually recommend clients choose something that is spicy or sour, or another strong flavor, that is easy to carry around with them. Maybe cinnamon gum, lemon drops or ginger candies. This works best if you are not naturally drawn to those flavors or mouth sensations. When you are feeling anxious, use these candies to give your brain a sensation to dial into and then you may notice how much you hate cinnamon gum because it is too spicy on your tongue, and you are no longer worrying about the thing you were worrying about.

What are some of your go-to comfort foods?

Any information provided about medical matters is purely educational and the author is not a medical professional and is not recommending any specific intervention for any specific person or giving medical advice. Please consult your own medical provider for information about your own situation

This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not create any type of therapeutic relationship. For specific assistance, please consult your own medical and/or mental health provider.

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