Emotional needs or Physical needs or both?

Comfort eating … an old friend? Arch enemy? Bane of my life? Yet another lesson in objectivity?

So many mirrors and lessons all symbolised in one little thing.


Start from the beginning then yeah?

I came upon my “my shit, their shit” thinking as a response to an emotional challenge in my life and it has proved invaluable to me as a way to detach and see a situation from a distance.

Almost instantly it calms me and lets me notice my needs and wants and how these are becoming tangled in a story or when I am trying to desperately meet someone else’s needs rather than my own.


So what happens when you apply the theory to the emotional and physical relationship you have with yourself?


What’s that you say?

Ah yes, more of that weird crap is now spouting from my fingers.


Comfort eating – it is perhaps the perfect example of when your emotional needs dominate your physical needs.

You eat, not because you are hungry, but because you require comfort and happiness.

The little fug of content that surrounds you as your snack of choice hits your taste buds and fills you with deliciousness is a heady thing and is, quite often, one of the very few comforts we have for ourselves when we are stretched thin or beyond our limits.


It is a comfort and a moment of happiness. Bliss.

Until you find yourself in that spiral of “gah, why did I do that? I feel sick now, or too full or I generally don’t like myself much for doing it” or whatever your moment of regret is.


Pondering upon this I came to realise that confusing emotional and physical needs is something I do easily and far too often for my liking.

My physical needs are very, very simple. I need to eat good, healthful food in decent quantities, I need to get the right amount of sleep to feel rested and alert the next day and I need to do some exercise on a regular basis.

My emotional needs, on the other hand, are complex and ever changing.

My relationship between the two is very confused.


Which is cool and not that surprising.

I am a human bean after all.

My general state of being is “confused.”

It was a revelation to me to realise just how much I use my physical needs to meet my emotional needs, like sleeping too much when I am down to escape facing what is going on, or eating too much when things are getting really challenging because it helps me to just forget how much I am hating things in the moment.

It made me wonder if I could apply the “my shit or their shit?” thinking a little – reworked perhaps to “emotional or physical need?” thinking.


Our relationships with our bodies are always going to be complex and intertwined with our emotions – as a whole they make us who we are.

Something I most certainly, am likely to forget in the heat of an emotion.

Mostly I imagine I exist solely on an emotional/ mind level.

I forget that my body is as much a part of who I am as my feelings and thoughts and I really forget that meeting my body’s needs properly and with care is as important as meeting my emotional needs with care and love and attention.

I most especially use physical comforts as an attempt to meet emotional needs and it was here, in this zone that I realised how easy it is to mix the two up.

It made me realise how limited my emotional comforts are and how much I rely on comfort eating or sleeping as an attempt to deal with stuff.

Being able to stop for a moment and ask myself which need needs meeting (oh good god – what a sentence), physical or emotional, has been helping me to detach from panicky feed-me-sugar-now-or-we’re-all-going-to-die urge and realise that perhaps I could deal with this in a way that was less harmful to my physical relationship with myself.

It reminds me that I deserve to treat myself with love and care on a physical as well as an emotional level and it brings a level of conscious thought to this process.

I dig.


One Response

  1. This is so true. I think it’s useful too, even for people who have anxiety disorders or PTSD. A kind of reframing the experience that our stress says: Do this now or I’m going to die.” And instead of running, or flipping out, or hitting the bed and hiding, or whipping out the meds so quickly…this might really help with all of that. Thanks.

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