Mental health app Sensa has conducted research to gain a more profound knowledge of the number of users affected by emotional eating. The study had 177,988 user respondents and found that 53.75% of them are facing emotional eating.
What Is Emotional Eating?
Emotional eating or emotional hunger is eating to cope with stressful or difficult feelings when not actually experiencing any hunger. These emotional cravings are often for high-calorie or high-carbohydrate foods that have minimal nutritional value. Studies have shown that there may be psychological and physiological responses to stress.
During stressful events, the body releases cortisol, a stress hormone that helps the body protect itself. However, prolonged elevation of cortisol levels during repeated and constant stressors can lead to increased food consumption, fat storage, and weight gain – all contributing to the negative mindset.
Changing Thinking Patterns Could Help
Psychotherapist Dainius Jakucionis, M.D, also one of the creators of the Sensa app, notes that cognitive behavior therapy could help deal with emotional eating. The Cognitive Behavior Therapy treatment’s main goal is to change a person’s thinking patterns (recognize one’s distortions) or change relationships with them since these patterns are why negative emotion and behavioral patterns occur.
“At Sensa, we provide a daily plan for each user. The user gets reading material and practical, easy-to-implement tasks. These activities help a person change their thinking patterns, plan their routine, and quickly defuse stressful situations, which can cause emotional eating,” says Jakucionis.
Healthy Diets and Mental Health go Hand in Hand
A healthy diet plays a big role in solving mental health issues, such as stress and anxiety. Different ranges of foods could affect mental health positively. However, some of the foods, known as stimulating foods, could trigger anxiety, stress and negatively affect state of mind.
“A well-balanced diet is critical for improving our physical and mental health. By eating lots of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, we normalize our blood sugar levels, slowing our digestion and making us feel less anxious. Stimulating foods, such as sugar, that we usually crave during emotional eating, highly impact a person’s anxiety, so emotional eating, caused by stress, usually leads not only to excess weight but also anxiety,” explains Jakucionis.
The Sensa app is based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – one of the most commonly used and proven techniques to improve mental health conditions. CBT treatment’s main goal is to change a person’s thinking patterns (recognize one’s distortions) or change their relationship with them since these tendencies are why negative emotion and behavioral patterns occur. It is like a person is stuck in a continuous cycle of thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.
The Sensa app is designed to work as a mental health assistant for individuals. It provides never-ending, therapy-based guidance to mental health.
The app includes several key features:
• “My Plan” – An 84-day plan containing reading materials and related to-do tasks.
• “Activities” – 32 different activities from 4 groups: Health; Mindfulness; Relaxation; Physical.
• “Mood Journal” – A tool helping to enter and track daily/weekly/monthly progress.
• “Quick Relief” – Different exercises that can aid in relieving panic attacks or anxiety.
• “Assessments” – A tracker of one’s current state of mental well-being, based on a DASS21 test that evaluates levels of anxiety, depression, and stress.