Overcoming Binge Eating: Understanding Your Emotions

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Understanding our emotions and how the brain works can be a useful way to gain perspective and "leverage" on yourself to overcome compulsive overeating or binge eating. For a FREE binge eating breakthrough course and further resources, visit http://www.bingeeatingbreakthrough.com.

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Overcoming Binge Eating: Understanding Your Emotions

  1. 1. Overcoming Binge Eating: Understanding Your Emotions
  2. 2. What is emotion? A feeling? Then what is feeling?
  3. 3. These terms are difficult to define and even more difficult to understand completely. People have been attempting to understand this phenomenon for thousands of years, and will most likely debate for a thousand more.
  4. 4. Here are 5 theories on emotions with examples.
  5. 5. 1 James-Lange Theory The James-Lange theory of emotion argues that an event causes physiological arousal first and then we interpret this arousal. Only after our interpretation of the arousal can we experience emotion. If the arousal is not noticed or is not given any thought, then we will not experience any emotion based on this event. EXAMPLE: You are walking down a dark alley late at night. You hear footsteps behind you and you begin to tremble, your heart beats faster, and your breathing deepens. You notice these physiological changes and interpret them as your body's preparation for a fearful situation. You then experience fear. EVENT AROUSAL INTERPRETATION EMOTION
  6. 6. Cannon-Bard Theory The Cannon-Bard theory argues that we experience physiological arousal and emotional at the same time, but gives no attention to the role of thoughts or outward behavior. EXAMPLE: You are walking down a dark alley late at night. You hear footsteps behind you and you begin to tremble, your heart beats faster, and your breathing deepens. At the same time as these physiological changes occur you also experience the emotion of fear. EVENT AROUSAL EMOTION 2
  7. 7. Schachter-Singer Theory According to this theory, an event causes physiological arousal first. You must then identify a reason for this arousal and then you are able to experience and label the emotion. EXAMPLE: You are walking down a dark alley late at night. You hear footsteps behind you and you begin to tremble, your heart beats faster, and your breathing deepens. Upon noticing this arousal you realize that is comes from the fact that you are walking down a dark alley by yourself. This behavior is dangerous and therefore you feel the emotion of fear. 3 EVENT AROUSAL REASONING EMOTION
  8. 8. Lazarus Theory Lazarus Theory states that a thought must come before any emotion or physiological arousal. In other words, you must first think about your situation before you can experience an emotion. EXAMPLE: You are walking down a dark alley late at night. You hear footsteps behind you and you think it may be a mugger so you begin to tremble, your heart beats faster, and your breathing deepens and at the same time experience fear.4 EVENT THOUGHT EMOTION AROUSAL
  9. 9. Facial Feedback Theory According to the facial feedback theory, emotion is the experience of changes in our facial muscles. In other words, when we smile, we then experience pleasure, or happiness. When we frown, we then experience sadness. it is the changes in our facial muscles that cue our brains and provide the basis of our emotions. Just as there are an unlimited number of muscle configurations in our face, so to are there a seemingly unlimited number of emotions. EXAMPLE: You are walking down a dark alley late at night. You hear footsteps behind you and your eyes widen, your teeth clench and your brain interprets these facial changes as the expression of fear. Therefore you experience the emotion of fear. 5 EVENT FACIAL CHANGES EMOTION
  10. 10. Advances in neuroscience suggest how brains generate emotions through a combination of cognitive appraisal and bodily perception.
  11. 11. There are currently two main scientific ways of explaining the nature of emotions.
  12. 12. According to the cognitive appraisal theory, emotions are judgments about the extent that the current situation meets your goals.
  13. 13. For example, happiness is the evaluation that your goals are being satisfied, as when winning the lottery solves your financial problems and being asked out holds the promise of satisfying your romantic needs. Similarly, sadness is the evaluation that your goals are not being satisfied, and anger is the judgment aimed at whatever is blocking the accomplishment of your goals.
  14. 14. Alternatively, William James and others have argued that emotions are perceptions of changes in your body such as heart rate, breathing rate, perspiration, and hormone levels.
  15. 15. On this view, happiness is a kind of physiological perception, not a judgment, and other emotions such as sadness and anger are mental reactions to different kinds of physiological stages. The problem with this account is that bodily states do not seem to be nearly as finely tuned as the many different kinds of emotional states.
  16. 16. Understanding how the brain works shows that these theories of emotion - cognitive appraisal and physiological perception - can be combined into a unified account of emotions.
  17. 17. The brain is a parallel processor, doing many things at once. Visual and other kinds of perception are the result of both inputs from the senses and top-down interpretations based on past knowledge.
  18. 18. Similarly, the brain can perform emotions by interactively combining both high-level judgments about goal satisfactions and low- level perceptions of bodily changes.
  19. 19. The judgments are performed by the prefrontal cortex which interacts with the amygdala and insula that process information about physiological states. Hence happiness can be a brain process that simultaneously makes appraisals and perceives the body.
  20. 20. Understanding how our brains work and the nature of emotions can be a useful way to gain perspective on compulsions like binge eating or compulsive overeating.
  21. 21. When you feel powerless against your urges, by understanding what's happening in your mind and emotions, you can learn how to manage urges to overeat.
  22. 22. For a free binge eating breakthrough course and further tips, visit http://www.bingeeatingbreakthrough.com.
  23. 23. Thanks to AllPsych.com and PsychologyToday.com for the useful information: http://allpsych.com/psychology101/emotion.html http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hot-thought/201004/what- are-emotions
  24. 24. QUESTIONS?
  25. 25. THANK YOU!

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