Savvy Therapy


This is Day 4 of the coaching course to help you change your habits using your relationship with food as the example.  The same process can be used for any other habit you have that is not bringing you success or is making you feel bad about yourself.  

Lets recap on where we are.  We know that we have a physical response to any sense of threat based on the one emotion we are born with which is fear.

Hormones support the fight, flight, freeze, or fawn,  stress responses to deal with the fear; but if we are unable to deal with the fear, as a child for example, we sometimes to suppress the emotion using food to calm down.

That is the physical (or biological) aspect of a habit – an external trigger – stress response – action to avoid – which could be to avoid, escape, seeking comfort or ritualise the emotion using food.

That physical process is stored in the filing cabinet of your mind (the unconscious) as learning.  Every time the same situation occurs, your mind will seek the habit that has previously resolved the emotion.   You will automatically do this again without thinking about it.   You just accept it as part of you.

Overlaid onto this physical process are the psychological process which is made up of thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, and rules.  

If we look again at the child hearing her parents argue what might her thoughts be?  Even at this young age:

she might put herself down  ‘I’m not the good child and my parents don’t like me’

she might make a negative comparison ‘They like my brother better than me me’

she might blow things up ‘My parents hate me’

she might use what if thinking ‘What if my parents get rid of me?’ 

she might jump to negative conclusions ‘I know that my parents think it’s my fault that I’m naughty’

she might use mind reading ‘I know that my family think  else she made you that I am not their real child’

she might use I can’t thinking ‘I can’t stop myself from being naughty so I can’t stop my parents from arguing’

she might predict the worst results ‘I’m going to be a naughty girl all my life and my parents will argue too’

she may have unrealistic expectations ‘I have to be perfect to make my parents stop arguing’ or 

she may exaggerate ‘It’s going to be like this for the rest of my life’

Even at the age of 5 years old children are capable of having sophisticated thoughts about the situation going on around them.   They may not understand the thoughts or be able to verbalise these thoughts; and their behaviour and actions may not reflect this.

However, the thought gets attached to the physical habit that is already present in the mind.

If we go back to the adult lady who witnessed her parents argue at 5 years old and had cake which resolved the issue.  She had never been bothered for years by the experience she had, but as soon as she was in the similar situation where she wanted to stop arguing with her husband; her mind was telling her that cake with the answer.   To stop the arguments and resolve the situation her mind told her to eat cake because that is the habit that was embedded before. 

But a thought is just a thought it is not an INSTRUCTION.  Your mind is bringing forward a potential solution but it is not the ONLY solution and may not be appropriate in the new situation.

So this is the first part of the complex psychological issues related to food and your relationship with food and tomorrow we will look at feelings.

Video available at

Factsheet available at

Best wishes

Sheila Leahy

Snap Up Success