Ladies, when stress hits, nothing sounds better than a sweet treat, yes? There is actually some science behind this as stress triggers different areas of the body and brain which creates a deficit that needs to be filled. I couldn't tell you at the moment the exact process that happens without pulling out one of my books, but it is a natural reaction. So, you aren't just imagining that you are a stress-eater - most women are, it's a biological process. This makes it even tougher to turn down sweets when we are stressed and the big problem is that most of us face stress daily if not multiple times a day. This means that we need to consciously seek other means of managing the stress.
On this one particular day, however, I discovered the true power of a cookie.
First, in my non-professional opinion, there is only power in a treat that you would rank at a '10' on the 'Got To Have It' scale. Usually, cookies or a lot of store-bought treats including brownies and cupcakes - don't reach this realm of goodness for me; a perfect chocolate chip cookie is hard to find and usually are they only earth-shattering when they are just barely out of the oven. Kneaders and Paradise Bakery do well, but even still I can resist - I don't start salivating as they come into view. Chocolate cake with mounds of chocolate butter cream frosting (none of that whipped garbage) or my mother's home made chocolate mint brownies (again, with mounds of frosting) create a 'must have' effect for me - I'm not strong enough to turn that down if placed before me. Unfortunately (or fortunately I guess) I recently happened across the Whole Foods Vegan Chocolate Chip cookie. There aren't words to describe the heaven that comes with each fantastic bite. I know - how could anything vegan truly be that tempting? Well, honestly, clean-eating really isn't as bad as some people make it out be and these cookies really are something else. In fact, I went out of my way last week to buy a box and when I got there they were just taking them out of the oven - shazaam! Another woman was milling about as well just waiting for those cookies. I ended up buying two boxes and divided them out into a few Ziploc bags and hid them in the freezer for later consumption.
Well, let's revisit the Christmas break shall we? (despite the symptoms of PTSD that surface from that hellish nightmare that lasted for a full two weeks). From the moment the sun came-up till the sun went down I cursed the 'vacation' and wondered how in the world I survive summer. With all three of my kids home not knowing what to do with themselves aside from pick fights with each other, it was constant mayhem. I was tearing my hair out and on the verge of exploding. I instinctively went for the freezer and pulled out a cookie to thaw. I herded two of the kids into the car to run an errand and my breathing was shallow, heart-rate elevated and steam coming from my ears. I grabbed the cookie and took a bite forcing myself to focus solely on that and nothing else. I took a deep breath in enhancing the flavors and I considered the soft texture, the thickness, the sweet ingredients, the richness of the chocolate morsels. I chewed slowly and savored that bite. I forced a smile and an audible, 'mmmmmm.' I followed this procedure until the whole cookie was gone and when it was, I was totally fine. Heart rate and breathing had returned to normal and I actually felt good. I was calm, rational and happy. Behold, the power of a cookie!
This is actually considered a 'technique,' and is referred to as bridging which is simply 'coming to your senses.' I learned this from Stanley Block's book titled just that, "Coming to Your Senses." This is a phenomenal read and helpful in living your life by focusing on changing you by recognizing that you are the only person you can change. I couldn't control my kids attitudes and their energy over the break but I could mine. Breaking-up the band helped as did bridging with that cookie. This can be done anywhere at anytime by simply tuning into what you can hear, taste, touch, smell and see. As you focus on your senses you can calm yourself down to a rational state and then if you are really good, seek out your personal requirements that aren't being met (at the moment, I had the requirement that my kids be calm, quiet and play happily with each other. Ha! What world am I living in?) This practice has actually proven very effective for military men and women struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Simple, yet effective. I wouldn't recommend always turning to the cookie because eventually it will affect your waistline, but from time to time go for it. Otherwise, listen to the sound of the furnace, the tick of a clock, your dog's breathing (great for falling asleep at night), washing your hands, or even taking a few whiffs of almond or vanilla extract (which studies have shown also help alleviate hunger pangs).
Employ and enjoy and if you haven't yet tried Whole Foods Vegan Chocolate Chip cookie, drop everything and get a box. They will change your life. ;)