Emotional Eating: Signs and How To Take Control

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'Emotional eating is when people use food as a way to deal with feelings instead of to satisfy hunger.'

'Emotional eating is eating as a way to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness, and loneliness. Major life events or, more commonly, the hassles of daily life can trigger negative emotions that lead to emotional eating.'

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Eating On Autopilot

I'm guilty of emotional eating as I'm sure a lot of people are. When I'm feeling down, I eat. When I'm feeling depressed I turn to food. It's something I've done as a coping mechanism for as long as I remember but I've found ways to manage my comfort eating so that it doesn't take control of me. Emotional eating can lead to binge eating and it's not based on hunger. A lot of the time when you're bingeing you end up 'blind eating' where you often won't remember what exactly you've eaten, it's almost like you've gone on autopilot.

You find that you can't sit down to watch TV without having something to eat in your hand. Eating becomes a hobby and a pastime and before you know it you've consumed so many calories without meaning to and you don't even feel full.

Food As A Coping Mechanism 

For most people, food is more than just a source of fuel. We go out to restaurants to indulge in delicious food, we get excited about what we're going to eat when we get home from work and love the thought of cooking up a delicious meal or dessert. It's normal to see food as something to indulge in now and again but it's a problem when you can't live without knowing you have access to comfort food. 

Food can be like a comfort blanket. As long as you know you have access to it, you feel calm and it can relieve stress when you eat. When I've had a stressful day at work I just want to come home and binge on lots of food. I've gotten used to food as a stress reliever and you need to unfamiliarize yourself with treating food as a coping mechanism.

Part of beating emotional eating is retraining your brain to find other coping mechanisms for stress and emotional eating and to no longer feel the need to turn to food as a coping aid.

How To Overcome Emotional Eating

Is there an alternative to food that can fix how I'm feeling? Think of other ways you can soothe the comfort you're trying to fix. Instead of filling the void with food, try an alternative like taking a long hot bath and reading a book, meditating or yoga, chatting with friends or family about your day, or finding a project to work on, like blogging!

Change what you're eating. A good way to phase out your comfort eating is to change what you're eating to healthier choices, such as hummus and carrot sticks instead of crisps, olives and tomatoes instead of fried foods, and fruit salad instead of sugary foods. Eat mindfully and find foods that you still love the taste of that are much better for you thank the usual comfort junk foods.

Get to the root of what's causing the emotional eating. Are you dealing with something that has caused your emotional eating? Has an emotional event triggered your emotional eating and gotten you into bad habits? Often mental health issues like depression will lead to emotional eating and the best way to take control of this is by speaking with a counselor. Have a chat with your doctor about starting some counseling sessions and you'll get back on track with your eating habits. You can also talk to a counselor online with BetterHelp, a confidential online counseling service.

Exercise. As much as you don't want to hear it, exercise has been one of the best ways to battle my emotional eating. I feel healthier in my mind and body after 30 minutes of exercise just a few times a week and it makes me want to not eat as much and actually take pride in my body and willpower. I don't exercise to lose lots of weight, but to feel more energetic and happier in myself, so give it a try and spend the time you would be eating by working out and getting a sweat on.

Speak to a licensed counselor online now with BetterHelp, where you can start talking to someone straight away.

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10 Reasons Why You Should Go To Counseling

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Counseling is a great way to recover from emotional and psychological problems including low moods, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and addictions. Counseling is very common and something you should definitely consider if you're going through a hard time at the minute. 

You can try counseling online with Betterhelp which is a counseling service you can text or talk to a counselor online.

Simply speaking to someone who has an unbiased opinion and doesn't know you is such a great help in itself. A counselor will have no judgment towards you or your circumstances and simply wants to help you overcome the difficulties you're facing. It can be hard to open up to family and friends when you're going through a hard time, due to not wanting them to judge you or fear of them not understanding, and that's why talking to a counselor is a great way to open up completely about how you're feeling.

2. Counseling is a safe environment to speak about anything

Everything you say in a counseling session is completely confidential between you and your therapist, providing it won't cause harm to yourself or others. Counseling is a safe way to talk about anything you're feeling with a trusted person who wants to help you find the answers within yourself. Sometimes all you need is a safe space to talk about your feelings in a trusted environment, and counseling sessions provide that.

3. You become a lot more in control of your feelings

During your counseling session, you will learn techniques in which you can control your feelings and change your behavioral patterns to avoid falling into bad routines with your health, physically and mentally. Some of these techniques include CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy), humanistic counseling, and integrative counseling. You'll learn how to better express and manage your emotions and improve your self-esteem and communication skills.

4. You learn that it's OK to talk about things

A lot of us find ourselves too proud to open up about problems we're facing and actually admit that we need help. You'll find that through counseling you'll realize the benefits of actually speaking openly with your family and friends about issues in your life and that we should all encourage each other to talk openly about how we're feeling. Most of the time we bottle things up until it gets to a point that our emotions become so negative and start affecting our daily lives. Talking about how you're feeling is extremely healthy and you'll want to do it more when you start going to counseling.

5. There's nothing to be ashamed of by going to counseling

You're not seen as weak by going to counseling. It's not a sign that you've given up the fight and have given in to needing help. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of by seeking counseling and a huge number of people see counselors on a daily basis for any range of problems. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength and trusting someone who wants to help you. There's a stigma attached to counseling and it's often seen as a last resort but it's incredibly common and should be used and encouraged a lot more.

If you're scared to make the first move in going to counseling, you can talk to a licensed counselor online with Betterhelp.

6. It helps you cope with life a lot better

Counseling will give you a new outlook on life and help you deal with your problems so much better. Your counselor will help you find the answers you're looking for and provide guidance on improving your life. Sometimes life can all become just too much to deal with on our own and that's why counselors are there to give you that guidance and reassurance that you need. Counseling provides relief from issues you're facing and increased management of emotions.

7. There is counseling for every issue

Counseling isn't for specific people or problems, anyone can go to counseling no matter how big or small your problem, you will not be judged for seeking help from a counselor. Common reasons for going to counseling include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, stress, addictions, grief, relationship issues, breakups, career or finance issues, trauma, and many other things. Even if you think your problem isn't important enough to go to counseling, there are people wanting to help you with anything at all that you need help working through and talk therapy is extremely helpful for everyone.

8. It's extremely important to look after yourself

Self-care should be a priority in everyone's' lives and we often put everyone before ourselves and let our mental health go unseen to. It's important to put your mental health first and make looking after yourself a priority. We often shove our own problems to the back of our minds and hope they'll go away on their own, but by doing this it makes the issues worse and it's important to address them by speaking to someone.

9. Find a counselor that's right for you

All counselors are different and have different approaches and if you try out counseling and don't feel completely comfortable with your counselor, you can change counselors and find one you're happy with so they can help you to become your best self. Counselors want you to become better and there are no hard feelings if you need to change counselor.

10. The hardest part is making the call, it all gets better from there

Picking up the phone and ringing a counseling service, contacting a counselor online or making an appointment with your doctor to get referred to counseling is usually the hardest part for most people. The initial fear of what will happen when you go to counseling will soon disappear when you step into that counseling session and begin to let yourself open up. You will immediately start to see great results from your counseling sessions and your therapist will help you make a plan to get through your problems straight away.

Speak to someone online now with Betterhelp, an affordable counseling service you can access from anywhere at any time and get talking to a licensed counselor today.

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Why You Should Start A Blog

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When I started my blog thethoughtjournal.com last year, I never imagined the success I would have with it. I make a good monthly income from my blog, I've launched a course to help others bloggers make a high-income blog and I'm able to work from anywhere in the world. If you're considering starting a blog then this is why you need to start a blog today.

Starting a blog is so easy, you can get started within the next hour. I recommend Bluehost for hosting your blog and using Wordpress with the Genesis theme. Most bloggers use these tools for self-hosting and it's important to set your blog up professionally from the start.

1. You can create a business from blogging

You can write about just about anything and be able to make a business from your blog. If you're interested in a certain subject, chances are other people are googling it thousands of times per day too and your blog could be at the top of those search results! If you have a service to offer that can solve a solution to someone's problems, then you can make a business from it. Whether you want to write about cooking, gardening, sailing, relationships, marketing or even blogging, you can start up a business with your blog in no time.

2. Blogging is a great creative outlet

Blogging for me is like a form of therapy. I can write anything I want and open up about anything I'm passionate about on my blog. There's nothing better than being able to have your own space on the internet to create whatever you want and help others while doing so. Whether you love to write or you've never written before, blogging can be a fun way to express your opinions and make your voice heard while having the creative freedom to do so.

3. You can make good money from blogging

Blogging isn't all about making money and I don't recommend that you start a blog purely to make money, because you have to be passionate about what you're writing about to make it succeed. However, I make a very good income from my blog and my income started increasing only a few months after starting my blog. Ways to make money from blogging are ads, affiliate marketing, sponsorships and creating digital products to sell online.

I created a course that I sell called Pinterest Millionaire where I break down my exact strategy to getting millions of views from Pinterest, which is my main traffic referral. A great course I bought was the Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing course, which hugely increased my income after taking the course and implementing affiliate marketing strategies in my blog. Affiliate marketing is one of the main ways I make money from my blog along with traffic, so I'd highly recommend checking out those two courses.

You can read how Michelle Schroeder-Gardner who created the Making Sense Of Affiliate course makes $100,00 per month from her blog here.

4. You can work from anywhere in the world

I know so many bloggers who travel full time while working from their laptops in gorgeous locations around the world and you really can work from anywhere with a blog. You're not tied down to 9-5 working hours and you can travel while you work and have the freedom to work from anywhere. If you've ever wanted to work from home then blogging is the perfect way to start.

5. You can write about literally anything

No matter what you're interested in, no matter how cooky or strange, people will want to read it. The best way to have a successful blog is to pick a niche, so say you wanted to be a fitness blogger, instead of covering all aspects of fitness, narrow down your niche to say staying fit as a mom or if you wanted to be a money blogger you could focus on personal finance. You want to find a profitable niche that will get you a loyal readership.

6. Create opportunities for your existing business

If you already have a business and want to expand it, having a blog for your business is a great way to promote your services. You can reach a much bigger audience and get a lot more customers by blogging for your business. You can become an expert in your field and open many doors for your business by writing blog posts that are relevant and engaging to your customers.

If you're able to offer a service with your blog, you can increase your earnings by thousands. I created a service with my blog by making my online course 'Pinterest Millionaire' that shows you how to go viral with your blog on Pinterest and get huge traffic referrals. I'm able to provide a solution for other people's problems and you can do the same with your blogging business.

You can build an email list to send weekly or monthly updates to your customers to promote new blog posts, offers or products you're selling. I use ConvertKit as my email list builder and it's the easiest and most affordable email marketing platform for bloggers. Having a blog for your business will increase your reputation and earnings massively and makes you look a lot more professional and helps you stand out from competitors.

7. You'll inspire others and meet amazing people

Your writing will inspire so many other people and once you start getting comments on your blog from readers your hard work will really pay off. Your readers will be so interested in what you're writing about and you'll influence them to go out and do great things themselves. You can change people's lives from blogging, even in the smallest ways. Blogging is a very rewarding career and you'll meet many other like-minded people through starting a blog.

If these aren't enough reasons to start a blog today then I don't know what is! Blogging has changed my life and has opened up so many doors for me. I'm so thankful that I decided to just go for it and start my blog because I've never looked back and it's only getting better. If you want to create amazing opportunities for yourself then you should definitely start a blog using Bluehost and start your blogging journey now!

Once you have at least 25,000 page views per month, you can join bigger Ad paying sites like Mediavine who pay much more than Google, but you need high amounts of traffic to join them first. My main way of getting views to my blog is Pinterest so don't forget to check out my Pinterest Millionaire course to see how I refer thousands of readers daily to my blog.

Good luck on your blogging journey! Emily x

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10 Things To Tell Yourself When You're Not Doing Great

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It's so easy to let negative thoughts and emotions creep into your life and take over your mental health. That voice in your head can seem so loud and persistent but you must remember that you're stronger than it. Sometimes all you need is a little positive reinforcement to remind yourself that everything is going to be OK. Here are 10 positive things to tell yourself when you're not feeling ok. 

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1. This Is Temporary

What you're going through right now is not permanent and you will get through. A quote I always tell myself is 'This too shall pass' and whatever struggles you're facing now will pass you soon. Your life will change in a short matter of time and the problems you're dealing with won't be bothering you for much longer.

2. What's Meant For You Won't Pass You

If you feel like you're constantly getting 'no's' and nothing is going right for you, remember that what's meant for you won't pass you by. If it's meant for you, it will work out and if it's not, it will pass you by. Don't get disheartened by getting a no or if you don't get something that you wanted. When the right opportunity comes along, you will know.

3. Things Will Work Out

You will be happy and you will get the things you deserve in life, even if it's taking a little longer than you expected. You're on a journey and you're not at your final destination, so don't feel down about not being exactly where you're meant to be right now. Everything will work out in the end and you'll figure out the right things to do and the right path to take.

4. I Will Get There

Believe in your abilities to achieve anything you want and remind yourself how strong and capable you are of doing anything. Tell yourself that you can keep fighting and keep going to reach your point of happiness. Progress takes time but little steps can amount to huge differences, so never underestimate your abilities and reinforce those beliefs and goals in yourself. Tell yourself 'I'll get through this.'

5. I Am Good Enough

It's so easy to constantly compare yourself to everyone else; to people on social media, to people you walk past on the street, to people who seem like they're doing so much better than you. Tell yourself that you are good enough and that you are not in competition with anyone else but yourself. Try not to compare yourself to others and don't listen to people who try to undermine you or lessen your self-worth. Don't seek approval from others, the only person you need to seek it from is yourself.

6. My Life Will Be So Much Different This Time Next Year

Think about the future, think about how different your life will be when things work out, think about how much things will change in the near future and how much happier you'll be. Don't focus on what's going wrong now but instead focus on the plans you're making for the future and design a life in your head that you want to live. Visualize your goals, visualize your ideal life and focus on working hard to make that happen.

7. Everything Doesn't Have To Be Perfect Right Now

You don't have to have everything figured out right this minute. It's totally fine to not have everything perfect in your life right now and there's absolutely nothing wrong with not having your life sorted out immediately. Everyone takes different routes in life and everyone reaches their version of a 'perfect' life at a different stage. If you don't have everything figured out right now that's more than OK. You will get there in the end.

8. It Doesn't Matter That They've Achieved More Than Me

It doesn't matter that they have a bigger salary, it's doesn't matter that they have a better degree, it doesn't matter that they're looking at getting a mortgage for a house and I'm only thinking of renting. 'Don't compare your hustle to their highlight reel.' People want you to see on the outside only what they want you to see. Everyone is struggling with something on the inside and their perfect exterior isn't always as perfect as it seems. You are not in competition with anyone else. Don't compare yourself to others and don't get disheartened and feel down about not being as accomplished as someone else.

9. I Can Change My Environment

You're not stuck in your life, things aren't happening to you and you're not out of control. You have the ability to choose anything you want in life and create the life you want to live. You can make choices and decisions to leave where you are now and create an environment that you love to wake up in. No one is forcing you to do what you're doing and you are in full control of how your life turns out. Don't feel guilty about not following a certain path to please your parents, partner or friends. Do what makes you happy and what's most beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing.

10. Little Achievements Are Important

Don't focus solely on the end goal because by doing so you can get disheartened and feel overwhelmed with what you have to do to get there. Take everything a day at a time and congratulate yourself on the little achievements on the way. The small steps lead you to the big goal so take pride in everything you accomplish, no matter how small.

These are some simple ways to feel better about yourself and bring more positivity into your life. Whether you're dealing with depression, anxiety, low moods or and other mental health issues, remind yourself of these 10 things daily. Keep going, be strong and believe in yourself always. 

Join our Mental Health Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/thethoughtjournal/

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How I Traveled Around Asia For Cheap

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I've spent the last two months traveling around Southeast Asia on a budget and you'd be surprised at how little money I've spent. Many people dream of packing a bag, booking a flight and traveling across the world for a few months, and that's exactly what I did.

Earlier this year I was fed up with my job and living situation and really wanted to travel so I could see more of the world. I was in no means extremely well off financially, but I had the drive to get out of my city and comfort zone and travel somewhere completely new where I've never been before, specifically, I wanted to travel around Asia.

The one thing that kept stopping me from traveling, like a lot of others, was money. I didn't want to just go on a week-long holiday to Spain, I wanted to spend a few months traveling around Southeast Asia, and I just needed to find a way to travel cheaply. I didn't have a huge budget or a pot of money to rely on, so I knew I had to find a way to travel on the cheap, which is exactly what I did.

If you're unsure of how to afford to travel the world for cheap, if you're on a gap year or want to travel around Asia, these are some cheap travel hacks I used while traveling through Southeast Asia for two months and the best money saving tips for traveling around Asia cheap.

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Why Traveling Is Great For Your Mental Health
1. Use Skyscanner To Book Your Flights

Skyscanner gives you cheap and affordable flight options and is the easiest, quickest and most reliable way to book flights for traveling. I booked my return flights to Bangkok from Ireland and booked all of the additional flights to Vietnam and Cambodia through Skyscanner so you can choose your flights from anywhere in the world with them.

2. Book Your Accommodation Through Affordable Apps

I stayed in two types of accommodation while in Asia to keep costs down and that was by staying in hostels and hotels. Accommodation is incredibly cheap in most parts of Asia and you can get a four-star hotel from as cheap as $15 dollars per night. The two apps I used to book all of my accommodation were Booking.com and Hostel World. I  would stay in a hostel for a week, followed by a few nights in a hotel, so I really got the backpacker experience as well as a bit of luxury, which is needed when traveling around Asia for two months. I booked all of my hotels through Booking.com and booked my hostels through HostelWorld.

3. Go Backpacking Instead Of Traveling With A Suitcase

Traveling with a backpack is a lot easier than traveling with a suitcase because not only do you look less like a tourist with a backpack instead of turning at with a big suitcase, you have limited room to carry things around in your backpack. It's easy to get carried away with buying fakes and souvenirs when traveling, but having limited space to pack stops you from overspending on unnecessary things. 

4. Use A Currency Card To Pay For Things

Travelers often get caught out with big credit and debit card fees when spending abroad and I avoided this by using a currency card. I used the FairFx card to get money out in Asia and I usually withdrew my money for the week in one go so as to keep card fees low. Many banks charge a high fee no matter how much money you withdraw so a currency card is a much more affordable way to manage your money when traveling abroad. Also in Asia, your money comes out of the cash machine first, so don't leave your card behind! 

5. Book Tours Through Your Hostel or Hotel

There are a lot of companies that scam tourists into booking tours with them at extortionate prices and try to make them think that they offer the best service. It's always safest to book tours through the accommodation you're staying at and your hotel or hostel will usually always have the cheapest prices and won't rip you off. You'll see lots of travel agencies but the prices are usually always very high so it's best to steer clear from them. I booked all of my tours and excursions through hostels I found on HostelWorld.

6. Eat Locally

I always ate in our hostel or in local nearby restaurants because the food is incredibly cheap in Asia. You'll find many streets buzzing with restaurants and the prices are so cheap that we ate out every night of the week for two months! In Vietnam, it's custom to eat on miniature tables and chairs along the street which is a really nice and authentic eating experience.

7. Learn How To Barter

You can't travel to Asia without visiting the vast array of night markets which sell amazing quality fake clothes, handbags and shoes. The key to visiting the markets in Asia is to barter hard and haggle your way to the lowest price. I was hesitant at first when bartering in markets but I soon realized that the locals will try to charge you the highest price but with a bit of haggling they'll go very low from their first offer. In Vietnam, I was able to get two handbags down from 3.5 million Dong to 1 million Dong! You'll often get cheaper goods if you buy more than one so find a stall that you can buy a few things from. 

8. Don't Get Scammed By Taxis And Tuk Tuks

If you travel by bus or train throughout Asia, you'll be met with a big group of taxi and tuk tuk drivers once you reach the station at your destination. Always agree on a price before you step into a tuk tuk or taxi because they will charge you whatever they want if you don't. We made this mistake when arriving in Hoi An in Vietnam when two motorbike taxis grabbed our bags and put us on bikes without agreeing on a price and we were forced to pay them an extortionate amount of money for the short journey. So always agree on a low price before getting in! If a driver refuses to agree to your price then don't take the journey with him, you'll find another tuk tuk within seconds who will.

9. Take Sleeper Buses Instead of Flights

You'll soon get used to the luxury of sleeper buses (there's not much luxury with them at all) instead of spending hundreds on flights. Sleeper buses run every day to pretty much anywhere and are a fraction of the price of flights. They have reclined seats and blankets and usually provide water too. You can also get sleeper trains which are slightly more expensive but also a very affordable way to travel through Southeast Asia.

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