Home The Ultimate RelationshipHealth & Wellness Food and Anxiety

Food and Anxiety

Part One: Eating Sensibly with Joy and Not Fear

written by Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD September 18, 2020
Food and Anxiety

A nap would give you a boost, but that seems impossible. A call from the lover who dumped you last year would give you a boost, but that seems impossible. A brownie is possible. Hunger was a huge threat for most of human history. Our brain is good at looking for food because that relieves the threat. When you are anxious, you may find yourself looking for food. Then you may get anxious about what you eat. This thought loop can ensnare you. One minute you’re longing for something to nibble on, and the next minute you’re fearing the consequences. The information that follows helps you escape that loop.


We’ll see how food stimulates the happy brain chemicals, and how you can redirect yourself toward new ways to stimulate them. Food triggers dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphin, which is why it’s so motivating. When you understand these motives, you can enjoy the good feelings without overeating. This series of articles is not aimed at weight loss. It aims to tame anxiety. But since eating is both a cause of anxiety and an effect, it may help you step toward new eating habits. We must understand our natural food impulses in order to manage them, so let’s start with a close look at why our brain responds so intensely to food.

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