Using Mindfulness in Binge Eating Recovery Helps Me Cope
I've been leaning into the practice of mindfulness lately, and the daily practice is helping me learn to accept my life situation at this moment as it is. Mindfulness helps me stay focused on what matters to me instead of slipping into eating disorder behavior when I am feeling sad, afraid, or angry. Mindfulness is helping me through binge eating disorder recovery.
What Does Mindfulness Have to Do with Binge Eating Disorder Recovery?
In my understanding, mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to your thoughts and feelings, on purpose, without judging or reacting to what you observe. I imagine that I am a constant, silent witness to my thoughts and emotions, and instead of labeling what I observe as good or bad, I try to remain alert and curious.
But what does the practice of mindfulness have to do with binge eating disorder recovery?
When I observe my thoughts as if I were overhearing a conversation next to me, I have a choice of whether to act on my thoughts. Practicing mindfulness made me realize that I am separate from my thoughts, and I can choose whether to spiral down with them. This is a powerful tool in eating disorder recovery.
Our thoughts influence our emotions and how we behave. For example, after a difficult day, I notice my thoughts tend to focus on feeling stuck, depressed, and dissatisfied with life. If I'm not practicing mindfulness, these kinds of thoughts affect my appetite and make me more likely to binge to relieve myself of upsetting thoughts.
If I am being mindful, I am more likely to sit and be curious about why I feel the way I do. I'm able to understand what in my exterior life is causing the feelings of depression and either accept it or change what is going on.
Getting Started with Mindfulness
How do you practice observing your thoughts during the pace of daily life? Here are my tips for making mindfulness a part of your routine to help support your recovery process.
- Practice mindfulness during everyday activities. You can practice mindfulness by picking one activity you do every day (brushing your teeth, taking a shower, making the bed, washing dishes, etc.) and observing your thoughts and feelings as you do that activity. If your thoughts pull you out of the present moment and into the past or the future, don't judge yourself. Celebrate that you noticed your mind wander and bring it gently back to the present moment.
- Notice your breathing. We are constantly breathing, but most of the time, we don't notice our breathing if we are absorbed in our thoughts. Anytime in your day, you can practice taking three conscious breaths. I do this when I notice I'm feeling stressed out. You can repeat to yourself, "Breathing in, I am aware I am breathing in. Breathing out, I am aware I am breathing out."
- Make room for silence. If you usually listen to music or a podcast during your commute to work or while you complete your daily tasks, I challenge you to try doing these things in silence. Silence allows you to check in with your thoughts, emotions, and breathing.
- Check in with yourself before meals. When you're recovering from an eating disorder, food brings up a lot of thoughts and emotions. You can practice taking a brief pause before eating to notice how you're feeling and what you're thinking about. This is an opportunity to learn about yourself in the recovery process.
I hope these tips inspire you to try practicing mindfulness today. It's a challenging and worthwhile practice, so don't be discouraged if it is difficult to observe your thoughts, especially if you're trying to do it for the first time. Feel free to leave me a comment if you have thoughts and experience with this topic.
In this month's video, I share more about how mindfulness helps with your recovery process.
Parten, E. (2022, November 1). Using Mindfulness in Binge Eating Recovery Helps Me Cope, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, January 30 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/bingeeatingrecovery/2022/11/using-mindfulness-in-binge-eating-recovery-helps-me-cope