Mindfulness and Eating Disorder Recovery: 5 Easy Tips

Young girl using Mindfulness Skills and smelling a flower

We hear a lot about Mindfulness and all its physical, emotional and spiritual benefits. Yet, many of us have a rather loose understanding of the concept of mindfulness skills.

Those of us who are in recovery from an eating disorder may have a tendency toward anxiety and stress. I know that is my challenge! We seem to be exquisitely sensitive to our environment and become overloaded, overburdened and stressed easily. It is a tough way to go through life!

This constant vulnerability to becoming “stressed-out” negatively impacts our relationships, work, health, and life. We recognize that we should be able to “chill” more easily, but find it hard to grasp exactly how to go about living life in a relaxed manner.

Additionally, individuals who develop anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder often struggle to soothe themselves in healthy ways. We easily are trapped by pleasure (i.e., brain chemicals releasing) in eating or non-eating. But, this proves to be a lousy source of comfort over time! A dilemma!

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In mindfulness, the calming focus on breath and embodying your physical self-practice does indeed soothe jittery and anxious states. Focusing on our breathing can be as simple as just inhaling as deeply as possible and experiencing your lungs filling with air. Then, holding that breath for a few moments and proceeding to exhale slowly.

Another useful tool for those of us in eating disorder treatment or recovery is the emphasis on accepting rather than immediately solving problems. Within the practice of mindfulness, we learn to lessen our immediate reactionary responses when problems arise. It allows us to detach a bit, buy ourselves some time, and contemplate how, when or even if we even need to respond. We might just be comfortable allowing the issue to exist without seeking to change anything. That is an option!

Practicing some mindful skill techniques empowers us to fully live in today and to observe all the beautiful and interesting happenings of the day. We are able to adopt an almost childlike sense of excitement about what the day may bring.

Here are 5 useful self-help tips on how to practice Mindfulness in your eating disorder recovery journey today:

  1. Fully exist in the present moment. Let go of the past and the future. Be here now.
  2. Pay close attention to the details of the here and now: sight, smell, sound, feeling, taste.
  3. Avoid reacting to others immediately, pause and allow yourself simply to observe.
  4. Refrain from judgment of circumstances and others. Accept reality as it is.
  5. Greet the moment with warmth, and appreciation of the experience.

Source:

Alidina, S. (2015). Mindfulness for dummies. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons.


About the author:

Jacquelyn EkernJacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC founded Eating Disorder Hope in 2005, driven by a profound desire to help those struggling with anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder. This passion resulted from her battle with, and recovery from, an eating disorder. As president, Jacquelyn manages Ekern Enterprises, Inc. and the Eating Disorder Hope website. In addition, she is a fully licensed therapist with a closed private counseling practice specializing in the treatment of eating disorders.

Jacquelyn has a Bachelor of Science in Human Services degree from The University of Phoenix and a Masters degree in Counseling/Psychology, from Capella University. She has extensive experience in the eating disorder field including advanced education in psychology, participation, and contributions to additional eating disorder groups, symposiums, and professional associations. She is a member of the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), Academy of Eating Disorders (AED), the Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) and the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (iaedp).

Jacquelyn enjoys art, working out, walking her dogs, reading, painting and time with family.
Although Eating Disorder Hope was founded by Jacquelyn Ekern, this organization would not be possible without support from our generous sponsors.


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on April 3, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on April 3, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC

Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He is responsible for the operations of Eating Disorder Hope and ensuring that the website is functioning smoothly.