What Is Buffering?

Sad girl sitting in front of TV with food in hand

Buffering is something we do to avoid feeling emotions or feelings.

Many times buffering involves using something external to avoid our emotions or avoid truly experiencing our lives as they are.

We feel entitled to feeling happiness and pleasure all of the time.

This can show up in procrastination, eating, drinking, Netflix, Social Media, porn, spending money, cheating, or anything that causes us to avoid our feelings and creates a net negative effect on our lives.

Food is a major buffer.

For most of my clients this shows up with food. Many times they eat out of boredom or as a way to deal with emotions. The problem is that it creates a vicious cycle.

They eat something to get away from experiencing an emotion, they get a rush of dopamine and they feel better for a little bit. Once the dopamine wears off they immediately regret eating or they start to beat themselves up for eating when they didn’t need it. And then the cycle repeats itself.

Many food manufacturers are selling happiness in the form of food. The highly concentrated foods that have a ton of sugar and processing give us this dopamine hit that we are looking for.

The more we eat, the more we eat.

The work is in learning to process emotions and feelings.

Learning to break this cycle and learning to actually feel our feelings is where the work is. Learning how to process emotion and not resist or avoid emotions is a skill that can be developed.

The reality is that the happiness we seek is on the other side of learning this skill.

When we first stop buffering there might be a feeling of deprivation or withdrawal. You will eventually recognize and feel exactly what you have been trying to avoid. That feeling is exactly the feeling you need to experience and will tell you so much about your thoughts and beliefs.

For some of my clients, this is the very first time they have done any kind of introspection in regards to eating. If you are constantly avoiding your feelings, then you are constantly avoiding yourself and avoiding the chance to live your authentic self.

Life is 50/50.

Learning to feel your emotions and recognize that they aren’t always going to be positive is huge. Life is 50/50. 50% of the time it is going to feel great, the other 50% it is going to feel terrible. And that is ok.

Once we realize that we don’t always have to seek out pleasure and that we can be ok feeling negative emotions, we can start to live our authentic selves.

Living authentically builds confidence.

Once we start living authentically, our confidence goes up. We learn to deal with negative emotions and not give in to buffers. We can show up, fail, and be ok. T

he more confidence we have the more we can accomplish. The more we accomplish the more confidence we get. We are no longer scared of failure or the negative emotions that come with failure.

Where might you be buffering?

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