The RE-PAIR Strategy: Recognize Your Emotions

In my last post, I reviewed the book “Eating With Fierce Kindness.” Today’s post is a personal application of the book, specifically in regard to the RE-PAIR strategy.

The RE-PAIR process is a strategy to help one notice when feelings are triggered. It teaches you to acknowledge the story or message the emotions are telling you, and reduce the intensity that it may bring to you.

RE  Recognize ~Locate the emotions you are feeling using a body scan.

P     Perception~Hold on to the emotion to honor it, listen to it’s story, & practice breathing, before reacting.

A     Appreciate~Use loving-kindness mantras such as “May I Be Well” or “May I Hold My Pain in Compassion”.

I      Integrate these practices into your life.

R     Renew your commitment to honoring your emotions & stepping back from them, too.

For me, the most challenging part of the RE-PAIR strategy is being able to recognize your emotions within your body. Like most women who struggle with disordered eating, I want to be far away from my body, instead of connecting with it. I will go to great lengths to numb out any physical sensations connected with emotion, and I typically do so with food.

The best part of this strategy is the knowing that you don’t have to sit with feelings for a long period of time. You can choose the amount of time you want to be with it. So, whether you connect with it for 3 minutes or 2 hours, you are in charge.

A month ago, I was struck by the intense urge to binge. I checked in with my hunger, and found no physical need to eat. However, something uncomfortable was rising to the surface. I decided to make this a game. I decided to ask how I might be feeling should I choose not to eat at this time. Initially, my inner critic told me that I would crumble into a million little pieces. It reminded me that I really did not have time to have a breakdown, and it might just be easier to eat a little something. But, my curious, compassionate part stepped in. It asked me to sit with the feeling and explore. I tried to hold this uncomfortable part in my heart and not be angry at it. This was hard, as I just wanted the uncomfortable part to go away so I could disconnect & numb out. Using compassion and curiosity, I was able to look at the situation with less judgment and really listen to the story these feelings had.

The story, like most, was a very old one, and did not really align with who I am today. Today I am a confident woman who is unique, smart, and sassy. The storyline went back to a 13 year old, who was insecure, scared, and socially anxious. I was able to understand the feeling of rejection, instead of going to food, my default coping mechanism. The rejection part didn’t fully go away, but it felt so good to acknowledge it, honor it, and then decide to set in free as best I could in that very moment.

Reducing the intensity of my feelings and choosing to take a break from them is the next  step in my process to overcoming overeating.

I know I will continue to practice locating uncomfortable feelings in my body, honoring them, breathing, and then setting them free. With my Blue Fairy and Tanzanian Beach parts in my toolbox, I know it is possible.


About eatingasapathtoyoga

Learning to savor food, yoga, & life.
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5 Responses to The RE-PAIR Strategy: Recognize Your Emotions

  1. Shannon says:

    How did you know I needed this today?! I have been having such a hard time with not wanting to acknowledge my uncomfortable (such a great word for it) feelings and overeating as a result. It’s so frustrating because, in the end, I only feel better for a few moments and then the emotion will reappear. I don’t know why it’s so scary to sit with discomfort but I have to find a better way to take care of myself.

  2. I think it’s all about staying mindful and being compassionate with ourselves. Blessings!

  3. Debbish says:

    I think I’m wallowing in the ‘not wanting to get in touch with my body’ part!

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