Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with hanger? Hanger is an infectious, mind- and body-numbing condition that combines the worst of Hunger and Anger.
Diagnosed with Hanger for as long as I can remember, my symptoms commonly include: a burning black hole in the pit of my stomach, pulsating veins, fidgety hands and uncontrolled irritability followed by shallow breathing and a foggy brain. When hanger hits, I turn into a different person. A demon possesses my body and takes control of my limbs. I stop caring about others. I say hurtful comments. My moral compass stops as my mind and body dip into survival mode. My hanger can be so vicious that it ruins special events such as date nights, adventures or celebrations. When my hanger dissipates and my demon vanishes, I am left feeling embarrassed for how immature and irrational I behaved. I recently hit a point in my life where I was tired of letting hanger control me and affect those around me. I decided to take charge of my condition and created these five tips to keep the demon dormant and my life in balance.
Even though hanger is like a virus that will always be beneath the skin, you can practice these five tips to manage symptoms and outbreaks so that you can control hanger and not let it control you.
1. Pack a Snack
Never leave home without a bag of nuts, an apple or a healthy bar. You never know when your hunger will strike, so combat hanger by having a handy snack on hand to keep your blood sugar and mood in balance. You would bring a snack for a toddler to pacify a potential temper tantrum… wouldn’t you? Think of the same self-care act for yourself!
In case you don’t have an emergency bar in your bag, right before shit hits the fan and you start to notice the symptoms creeping in: connect to your breath. Your breath is the anchor to keep you in the present moment, away from desperate thoughts, sticky emotions or distracting physical sensations.
Fake it until you make it. Even if your irritability is at its peak… smile! Notice how your energy shifts. Smiling releases endorphins which help send positive vibes throughout your body and pull you out of survival mode. When you are not in your fight/flight stage, you are able to control your reactions. Smiling helps to soften not only your reaction, but the reaction and energy of those around you.
4. Let go
Let go of any deep or surface thought or emotion that makes you feel stuck. Let go of your fears that you will not be fed. Let go of your fears of not feeling safe. Let go of your desire to control the situation. When I start to feel a thought surface that doesn’t serve me, I just imagine popping it like a bubble in the sky. Pop!
5. Anchor Yourself
After freeing yourself from current thoughts, emotions and sensations, bring yourself back to the present moment with an anchoring thought. Shift your energy. Try repeating: I am present; I am breathing; I am alive. Any time you start to feel yourself drift to unhelpful thoughts or emotions, bring yourself back to those anchoring thoughts that help you connect to your breath. If these anchoring thoughts don’t work for you, create your own!
Once you start practicing these five tips, your hanger symptoms will soften. Your outbreaks will shorten, and soon enough you will realize that battling hanger was a thing of the past. You will now have control of the hanger virus instead of this brutal and debilitating virus controlling you. It’s time to get your life back and put you in the driver’s seat.