The Mental Energy of 'Hypervigilance' in Emotional Eating and Binge Eating Disorder

Today we are going to be doing another card quote. All the cards that we’re using are from the four energies of the emotional eating card deck. This card deck has been designed specifically for people with emotional eating and binge eating disorder, working through the different energies that you are using consciously or unconsciously, to maintain or continue to drive that unhelpful eating habits that you’ve got. A lot of this is happening on autopilot and tapping into your unconscious, that’s why it’s never very fair to say to yourself, “I am so weak”, “I have no willpower” or “it’s all my fault”. That’s actually not what’s going on at all! When you have when you’re struggling with long standing emotional eating or binge eating disorder, a lot of it is being driven by your unconscious energies. 

This car deck is designed to actually bring all the different aspects of emotion using a binge eating disorder into your conscious awareness, and give you the choice to do something about it. Once you’re conscious of it, and you realize what you’re doing or the impact that it’s having, then you’re giving yourself the choice to change. That’s what this deck is all about. 

On these cards we’re talking about the four energies:

  • Fire cards – mental energy
  • Earth cards – physical energy
  • Air cards – emotional energy
  • Water cards – spiritual energy.

This deck is composed by 48 cards; 12 for each energy and again, they’re divided up into learning cards, doing cards, or reflecting cards.

The fire card - your mental energy

Today we are talking about the Fire card and our mental energy, we are going to learn about something in this particular card. Let’s see what the card says:

“You have given your mind an impossible job. You’ve said, I want everyone to like me. I don’t want anyone to hurt me. I don’t want anything to happen that I don’t like. And your mind has said I’m on the job. I work on it constantly. And so it is but what if you stopped telling your mind that its job is to make sure everything and everyone is the way you need it to be so that you can feel better inside. The truth is everything will be okay as soon as you are okay with everything.”

This idea was adopted from the book The Untethered Soul by Michael singer. And this is something that we work with clients on all the time this idea of constantly scanning your environment, constantly watching out for and thinking “she doesn’t like me”, “my boss is going to fire me” or “it’s only a matter of time before they find out that I don’t know what I’m doing”. You’re constantly working towards keeping everybody else happy.

Doing everything perfectly, constantly vigilant around your performance and how you’re being perceived and also needing everybody to approve of you and like you.

In the context of emotional eating and binge eating disorder, the reason why it’s important to understand this is because so many people have experienced a past trauma. And in Ireland, the common sort of traumas that we would have presenting to us would be things like having an alcoholic parent, having a parent maybe who was either physically or mentally ill for a lot of the time during childhood or growing. I mean that maybe one of your parents are sort of emotionally absent because they were unable to be present because they were dealing with an illness or battling with an illness. And that usually meant that the other parent was very busy trying to support the parent who had the issue and also maybe trying to protect the children from what was going on. 

One of the things that happens in that type of situation is, the messages that become internalized for the child are:

  • Don’t rock the boat. 
  • Don’t be making any noise. 
  • Don’t be causing any trouble. 
  • Don’t be asking for attention. 
  • Don’t draw attention to yourself, and your needs.

Kind of became secondary to somebody else’s needs. And this is a very common feature that we see with clients with emotional eating and binge eating disorder, and they will definitely resonate with the phrase being a people pleaser.


And that’s what this card is about. It’s saying, you’ve given your mind an impossible job.

You said:

  • I want everyone to like me.
  • I don’t want anyone to hurt me.
  • I don’t want anything to happen, but I don’t like

Your mind says:

  • I’m on the job.
  • I work on it constantly. 

What this is about is trying to get comfortable with the fact that life in general is deeply imperfect, and people are unpredictable and people are different. If you have this constant vigilance going on in your mind, to make sure that everyone’s happy and that you’re performing to the best of your ability and that you also can’t show any weakness, ask for help or show anybody that you’re vulnerable. 

That means you’re carrying a huge psychological burden and that’s what we’re talking about. This is why this is a fire card, and it’s a mental energy card because an immense amount of your mental energy has been taken up with this all the time.

start feeling good in your own skin

This Fire card is about you feeling good in your own skin, about yourself and really not being concerned about what other people think. Because whatever happened in the past is in the past, it was maybe one person or two people in your life. Of course that was going to have a vast influence on you as a child because as a child, your parents are everything. But now you are an adult in the world full of your whole 6 billion people. And other people are far more concerned with their own lives and what’s going on for them, than what’s going on for you.

Start giving yourself permission to relax, giving your mind permission to relax and just working a little bit on that self esteem and self worth. From the inside, for yourself. 

  • I love and approve of myself.
  • I am worthy. 
  • I am lovable. 

Using those kinds of affirmations will slowly start changing those thoughts in your mind from “what does everybody else think of me” to “what do I think of me?”. – Giving your mind a new script about how to perceive yourself. 
I recommend Louise Hay. that does beautiful affirmations around this.

Practice positive self-talk

Remember, you don’t have to be constantly hyper vigilant and constantly scanning your environment and looking outside yourself to feel better about yourself on the inside. That’s an inside job, and you can change your mindset in a way that you can change your feelings of self worth, and self esteem. 

Try sitting down and doing a reflection:

  • How hyper vigilant am I?
  • How often am I looking to the outside for my own affirmation?
  • Can I help myself feel better and stronger in myself and more grounded in myself?
  • Who I am and my work without having to always come from the outside?

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