I’m sure you’d agree with me that eating to calm your stress only feels good in the moment. But because it doesn’t actually eliminate the source of your stress, eventually you’ll find yourself overeating again. Sometimes we just have to let go of things that no longer serve us. Wouldn’t it be nice to lighten your load?

When I was going through my NLP Practitioner training, I learned a phrase that is often used in Hypnosis, “Holding on and letting go.” This comes from the word artistry that world renowned hypnotherapist, Milton Erickson, became known for. “Holding on and letting go” is a bit of tongue twister for your brain, because it would seem that it is impossible to hold on and let go at the same time. At least that’s what we know from playing the children’s game tug-of-war. But life is not a rope. And it’s this black and white thinking that often creates so much stress in our lives because it limits your options to only two, holding on or letting go.

But what if you knew that you could do both, hold on and let go, at the same time? For example, in my life I know I can hold on to the love that I have for both of my parents and let go of the hurt and anger I feel toward them. I know I can hold onto the happy memories and let go of the painful ones. I know I can hold onto hope and let go of fear. I know I can hold onto my connection to my body and the universe and let go of seeking validation outside of myself. I know I can hold onto my ability to say “No” and let go of my need to say “Yes.”

Overall I’ve learned that knowing when to hold on and let go is one of the biggest keys to overcoming the tendency to consistently overeat. The old Andrea, the consummate control freak, would always confuse the two because I used to equate holding on with being secure and happy. Letting go always meant losing something. Now I realize that happiness is a choice and the worst thing you can do is expect others to make you happy. To do that, you leave yourself open to losing ground every time change happens. And let’s be honest, that’s when the cries of hunger are the loudest. Aren’t they?

So how do you think you can apply this in your life? What do you need to hold onto and let go of in order to be happier, less stressed, so you can satisfy your emotional hunger?