Adapted from Human Givens Volume 30 No 1 2023
Psychological Reports 2023 doi:10.1177/00332941231161794.
Psychologists report that having more daily “uplifts” in a person’s life can reduce their tendency to eat junk food snacks.
The uplifts seem to act as a buffer against emotional eating. Emotional eating episodes, daily hassles and daily uplifts were recorded by 160 participants in this study over 24 hours.
The more hassles experienced the more snacking occurred. However the snacking became far less when people experienced higher levels of daily uplifts compared to moderate or low levels of daily uplifts.
My comment: Some examples of daily hassles include: getting out of bed late, not getting a good sleep, no milk/food in the fridge, trouble deciding what to wear, tripping over the dog, de-icing the car, being cut up in traffic, a long or troublesome commute, stepping on dog mess, no change for the parking meter, phone not charged, can’t find the other glove, missing the bus, having to stand on the bus, trouble logging onto the computer, computer not working, extra work being dumped on you, interruptions at work, being unwell or having a spot on your face, someone being rude to you, getting the Wordle word wrong, forgetting your packed lunch, a long wait for lunch, having to contribute to a lift at work or sponsored event, unexpected meetings, meetings over running, just having meetings, getting out of work late, having to arrange personal stuff during work without other people knowing about it, having to wait in for a delivery or workman, bad weather, house being a mess, noisy neighbours or flatmates, run out of hot water for a bath or shower, not getting to bed on time. I had no trouble coming up with this list!
So what uplifts can happen or can you plan to happen? You will need to do a considerable amount of forward planning and organisation and prioritisation so that the daily hassles that you can control don’t control you. You can go to bed earlier so you get a good sleep, but you can’t spend the time you may otherwise wish to on work, socialisation or watching the television. You can decide on your outfit the night before and make your packed lunch and shop appropriately the day before. You can have a house rota for hot water use and strictly enforce protected food in the fridge. You can also eliminate junk food in the house. This is less easy in the workplace. Be realistic how long it takes to get from A to B and perform daily tasks.
You can pet your cat or dog in the morning instead of reading the news or going on social media. You can wear clothes that are bright colours instead of grey and black. Do you have nice houseplants in your home and office? Do you wear a nice perfume? You can put on make up that can quickly make you look better but you need to simplify your routine so it doesn’t take up valuable time. You can smile and speak to people you meet. You can get up regularly at work so that you aren’t sitting for long periods. You can make a point of taking the breaks that you need and deserve. Do you have to attend every meeting? If you are chairing a meeting can you be ruthless about who really needs to attend? Can you start promptly and finish within 30 minutes?
Can you have a personal chat instead of an e mail or phone call? Can you get out during the day? Can you leave on time? Can you give a sincere complement to someone or help out a colleague? Can you politely decline to do work that isn’t yours to do? Can you fit in some time in nature or exercising to decompress between work and home?
I think a lot of reason for stress at work and in the home is the feeling or actuality of not being in control. This leads to inner pressure which is relieved to some extent by emotional eating. Have a think about what you can do to make life easier for yourself.