The Power of Perception
By Kori Propst, MS, LCMHC,Wellness Director at The Diet Doc & Perfect Peaking
Ever wonder why some people have that almost insane drive to achieve, get it done almost effortlessly, and have a let-nothing-stand-in-my-way attitude while others struggle from the start, complain about their situation, and find that every bump in the road is a hurricane of stress?
While we are born with a certain personality, one that can be skewed toward optimism or pessimism, we are also the products of our environments and connections. If we are operating from a place of fear, learned helplessness, and anticipation of failure, we developed limiting beliefs based on the words and actions of those who were instrumental in our lives during our formative years.
Often these beliefs are self-protective in nature. They help us to make sense of the world when we experience what we perceive as threatening. However, they also build walls and create barriers toward achievement of our goals.
If you are an emotional eater, you exemplify this behavior well. In times of stress, anxiety, or discomfort, food becomes the go-to coping mechanism. Why? Because at the core of your belief system, which you are often not aware of, is a script written in a distorted but masterful manner that says, “I can’t handle this” or “This is too much for me to take on” or “I don’t know what to do.” Often you were not given opportunities when you were younger to learn HOW to handle stress or develop the capacity to believe that despite stress, you could control your world and the events in it. It comes down to more than just the beliefs, but lacking the skills to be “in tune” enough to understand that stress is not something that needs to be avoided. Food, in this case, is the tool for ignoring the stress– at least temporarily.
Bandura’s concept of self-efficacy explains this well. One with a high level of self-efficacy would believe he has the ability to influence life’s events despite setbacks or unpredictabilities and view mistakes or failures as opportunities to learn. As you can see, it’s all about perception! That go-getter, no nonsense, I’ll-let-nothing-stand-in-my-way person wrote the book on the power of perception!
I bet you’re thinking “I want to be like that!!” And you can. Plenty of research exists showing how you can cultivate that awareness for your beliefs and thoughts to use them more intuitively and with greater respect. The purpose is often to get in touch with your mind and body in order to relieve stress and increase your ability to relax, in addition to harnessing your mental edge with a present minded focus that will allow you to welcome your emotions rather than feeling abused by them.
Exercises in mindfulness can be tailored to your needs for the relief of anything from stress and chronic pain to more severe behaviors like anxiety and eating disorders.
At The Diet Doc you are fortunate to have a cognitive-behavioral therapist as your nutrition consultant. I work with clients all over the US who are actively using my systems to develop mindfulness to overcome stress and emotional eating, relationships issues, anxiety, eating, and depressive disorders, and anger management issues, just to name a few.
Kori Propst holds a BS in Exercise Physiology and an MS in Counseling. She is a WNBF Professional Bodybuilder, Figure, and Fit Body competitor, ISSN Sports Nutritionist, personal trainer, and lifestyle and weight management consultant.As the Wellness Director for the Diet Doc & Perfect Peaking she manages the general populationweight loss consulting program and created the Mental Edge Program to aid individualsin developing individualized strategies for optimal performance in their livesand for competing. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org