Emotional vs. physical starving

Today article won´t be about art therapy but it is related to therapy in general especially self-detecting. Very often if we are not able to cope with emotions we try to cope by eating. Imagine stressful day at work, fight with your partner or sad feeling when someone told you something what touched you. I am as well one of the people who cope by eating and have no stoppable taste for chocolate or crisps or whatever is in the fridge.

In one magazine (Psychologie Dnes) I have found useful differences between emotional and physical starving:

Emotional starving                

  • Desire to eat is very strong and comes all of a sudden almost like pushing some button.ň
  • Easily change your mind by suggestion (for example your colleague is going to buy a donut so you get a taste for one as well)
  • Starving feeling is connected to some emotions or situation mostly stress
  • You are no table to think what else you could do. Starving is so strong that you aren´t able think about other options until you eat something.
  • Emotional starving leads you to eating without thinking, where you don´t even think what is the taste of the food, you just put something to your mouth.

You have a desire for concrete food (chocolate, hamburger) you are not satisfied with something what makes you feel rich.

Very often before eating you think how you will feel guilty after. You feel guilty after meal.

Physical starving

You can see the need to eat something is rising slowly by the time and is influenced by times you have already eaten something (for example you feel stronger hunger between breakfast and lunch)

You are looking for something what would make you feel rich. You have no desire just for one thing, but you are considering various options how to stop your hunger.

Hunger is manifesting by obvious physical signals (for example throbbing sensation)

You stop eating once you feel rich

While you are eating you can feel the hunger is disappearing and comes feeling of richness what is satisfying.

You can wait a littke while you have no need to take something to your mouth straight after the need or desire for food appears

You don’t feel guilty in connection with hunger. You are aware of the fact you need to eat and you don´t feel guilty for it.

There are couple of advises how to deal with emotional starving:

  1. You can try visualisation and take yourself in your mind to some peaceful place where you try imagining in details the environment.


  1. Focus on your breathing (I like this one). Have you ever try yoga? Ujjayi breath is very calming and peaceful breathing technique how to calm yourself and be able start thinking about different options how to cope


  1. Try to find different calming technique then eating. That should be something simple monotonic, where you don´t need to much mental energy – browsing the magazine, colouring, craft making (origami, creating something from playdough or modelling)

Did you like the article? Was it helpful? Don´t miss other techniques and info from world of highly sensitive introverted extroverts and follow on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Do you know someone who might find the article helpful? Share!


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