Happy, Healthy You – Mindfulness
Mindfulness is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
I don’t know about all of you, but it is a challenge in this busy life to stay in the present moment. Not only are we bombarded with 24/7 information overload but can easily get distracted by social media, planning for our future or just everyday activities. When we suffer from eating disorders, a comparison mindset can also be a crippling distraction that keeps us from living our lives in the here and now. We can easily fall into the rut of constantly comparing ourselves to others, or constantly judging ourselves to our past selves. If you personally suffer from an eating disorder, as I do, practicing mindfulness, or living in the present moment, can become a positive self nurturing behavior. Mindfulness can save you from self destructive behavior or critical, negative thoughts. For those with binge eating disorder, emotional eating challenges, anorexia or bulimia, we can obsess incessantly over thoughts around our body image, the number on the scale or calorie intake. These repeated negative thoughts can seriously impact our capacity to live joyous, meaningful lives in the present moment. When our minds are continually beating us up or wishing our weight or body were different, we are in a perpetual circle of dissatisfaction in life. This constant dissatisfaction, day in and day out, can breed misery and pain our lives.
Okay, so how can we break this unhealthy cycle? Mindfulness can be a helpful tool. The Eastern Washington University suggests that “using mindfulness as a treatment approach is effective, since eating disorders are associated with perfectionism, control, and harsh self-criticism. In essence, if we can change our relationship with our thoughts, we can begin to heal our relationship with ourselves—this includes our body”. We cant agree more! Literally, we have always believed that if we can change our thoughts, we can change our lives. Sometimes that is easier said than done, right?
Being in the present moment also means being fully aware of our environment. And doing everything we can to have a healthy, positive environment. Don’t worry, we can learn to avoid negative environmental triggers. Some triggers might include constantly comparing ourselves to perfect looking model images on social media, challenging and toxic personal relationships or exposing ourselves to particular trigger foods. Another important factor to realize are the internal triggers we hold onto that become default modes of negative thinking or old beliefs.
The more aware of our inner and outer triggers, the better opportunity we have to heal our minds and souls. We can examine not only our thoughts but our actions to find out what triggers our self destructiveness. When we learn these triggers and can effectively replace the self destructive behaviors with self nurturing behavior we will notice a shift in our lives. Being fully aware is the first step to our beautiful transformation. Some additional techniques that can help are sitting quietly with yourself to check in to what your soul is needing and craving. I know for me, taking the time to journal my thoughts, always helps me to assess my needs more effectively. Don’t forget to take a time out to pause in moments of emotional turmoil. We have all been there. Its not if it will hit, but when. So, take a deep breath, and refocus on what your body, mind and soul need to feel loved and cared for. This deliberate pause creates a loving and healthy space for self love to take place. This is healthy way to change the channel, so to speak, and actively change our thought patterns with mindfulness.
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