The Best Mantras for Eating Disorder Recovery
Mantras for eating disorder (ED) recovery work for me. Part of the reason why is that I don't meditate. I have trouble sitting still for more than a few seconds. Even when I do yoga, it's the sweat until you vomit sort, not the calm, restorative kind. All this is to say the idea of mantras do not come easily to me, but using mantras for eating disorder recovery has been a powerful and subtle tool that's helped me overcome negative thinking.
What Is a Mantra, in or out of Eating Disorder Recovery?
A mantra is a sound, word or statement repeated frequently. The aim of this repetition is to calm, soothe and focus the mind. The repetition also helps forge new pathways in the brain--more productive, positive pathways.
For instance, people in eating disorder recovery are likely used to being negative in their thinking about themselves. One might frequently tell oneself, "I'm fat. I'm worthless. I don't matter."
Over time, assaulting oneself with this negative language takes its toll and eventually, these hurtful thoughts become reality. Mantras for eating disorder recovery help create a new, more healthy reality.
As I said, I'm not particularly adept at sitting quietly with my own thoughts yet (I, like all of us in ED recovery, am a work in progress), but mantras have allowed me to redirect and ease my mind without having to stop what I'm doing.
So, if I'm struggling to get my toddler into his snow pants while getting my other three children dressed and out the door so we can walk to school, and the old, destructive thoughts start nattering again--telling me I'm not good enough, I can't handle this, I shouldn't be a mother--I have a handful of mantras on-hand to remind myself that I can handle any situation.
Which mantras will work best for you will depend on what you find motivating, but these are the mantras for eating disorder recovery that work for me. I'm confident they will resonate with many of you too. These mantras champion control without being confining, and liberty without powerlessness.
My Favorite Mantras for Eating Disorder Recovery
- I'm the master of my fate, I'm the captain of my soul.--These are the last two lines of the poem, Invictus by William Ernest Henley. The poem is a rallying cry to rise after falling down and to take control of one's life.
- I survived my ED. I can survive this.--Too often, we discredit the tremendous amount of bravery required for us to step out the other side of a battle that kills so many. Fifty years of research has shown that anorexia has the highest rate of mortality of any mental disorder.1 Bulimia follows closely behind.2 Remember these facts next time you think you're weak: you've survived--you are surviving--a rampant killer. You can do anything.
- Fat is something you have, not something you are.--I can't remember where I first read this phrase, but it resonated. Almost a decade into my eating disorder recovery and I still catch myself calling myself fat. This phrase stands to help me remember I am a whole, complex person. Whatever my body weight is, I cannot actually be fat. Repeated over and over, this simple mantra for eating disorder recovery also serves to shed light on the ridiculous societal ideals that judge people for what they have, not who they are. Whether the judgment is pejorative for something like having fat on one's body, or effusively positive for being born with genes that make you thin, the point of this mantra is to recentre your focus onto the real you: who you truly are. This person matters and cannot be defined by what they do or do not physically possess.
These three mantras for eating disorder recovery have restored me countless times, bringing my goals and resilience back into clarion focus.
Do you have mantras for eating disorder recovery? I'd love to read them. Please share in the comments.
- Hamilton, G. et al, "Anorexia Nervosa – Highest Mortality Rate of Any Mental Disorder: Why?." Eating Disorder Hope, Accessed February 3, 2020.
- Eating Disorders Resource Catalogue, Eating Disorders Resource Catalogue. Accessed February 3, 2020.
Ghadery, H. (2020, February 11). The Best Mantras for Eating Disorder Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, September 30 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivinged/2020/2/the-best-mantras-for-eating-disorder-recovery
Author: Hollay Ghadery
I loved your article! I'm a recovering bulimic and years ago when I was attending an EDA meeting, the speaker was talking about staying in the present moment to ease anxious thoughts. She said that it helped to ask herself, "Where are your feet?" Then, she'd look down at her feet and realize that, in the present moment, she was ok. So, I began to do the same. Whenever I am having thoughts that raise my anxiety level, I ask myself, "Where are your feet?" Then, I look down and I realize that at least, in this moment, I'm ok :-)
Absolutely love that! I may even use it. It is very calming--very grounding to ask yourself that question. Thank you for sharing!