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Because it allows people to identify and redirect negative or disordered thoughts, mindfulness plays a central role in the eating disorder treatment of any type. Most eating disorders are partially caused by body dysmorphia or the sense of dissatisfaction with one’s body and flawed perception of the body’s size. Mindfulness can counteract these tendencies by taking them on with clear eyes and a logical approach to self-scrutiny.
This state of being takes effort to achieve, however and may require guidance from experts skilled in eating disorder counseling. Understanding the importance of mindfulness in residential eating disorder recovery can help patients commit to adopting this level of awareness in their daily lives as they work toward becoming recovered.
What Does “Mindfulness” Mean?
Mindfulness is an approach to life and how people experience it. It’s closely tied to meditation techniques in which a person can clear their mind and assess their thinking without judgment, taking each experience and thought as it comes. This state of mind allows participants to assess the inner critical voice that’s driving disordered eating. Then they can begin to address the feelings and thoughts that are causing harm and work toward debunking and eliminating them.
Mindfulness surrounds the simple act of directly experiencing life. It starts with eliminating the nagging thoughts and feelings that come with everything we do. For example, someone who needs residential anorexia nervosa treatment might sit down to a meal and have thoughts about how people are judging them for being “fat” or worry about how many calories each bite will be, and so on. With mindfulness training, they’ll learn how to simply eat. No worries, no plans for the future, no self-doubt – it is important to simply witness the event and sensations without judgment.
It’s hardly an easy thing to achieve – even with help from a residential eating disorder facility that focuses on mindfulness training, it does take time to learn how to make your life a mindful one. Eating disorder counseling can help people in treatment set up the foundational skills they need to remain mindful of their surroundings and inner feelings.
Why Do Eating Disorder Counseling and Mindfulness Go Hand-in-Hand?
At an eating disorder treatment center that puts its focus on mindfulness, a variety of therapeutic methods can be used, including family therapy, group therapy, one-on-one sessions, and experiential therapies. Each of these presents an opportunity for a client to work on isolating their disordered thoughts and feelings and move beyond them.
Eating disorder treatment professionals will offer guidance and support for their clients as they work on learning how to live in the moment. They will introduce techniques, such as guided meditation, that help jumpstart the process of embracing mindfulness. Because people with eating disorders usually struggle with clouded and negative thought patterns when it comes to food and their bodies, the ability to recognize that these thoughts are flawed is essential to overcoming the disorder.
How Can Someone in Treatment Improve Their Mindfulness?
With mindfulness, people in eating disorder treatment centers can focus day by day on recovery and challenging negative thought patterns. However, many people in treatment have years of disordered thinking and avoidance to overcome – it’s a slow process.
Openness to change is the key. As with every mental health issue, the first step to overcoming an eating disorder is accepting that there is a problem and steeling yourself to change it. Upon accepting the necessity of mindfulness, it is much easier to learn and apply, especially when a client has left residential eating disorder treatment and is back in their daily life.
Mindfulness also comes easier when focusing on the positive, rather than letting negative, disordered thoughts rule the mind. Positive thought patterns can help transform perceptions and reframe potentially distressing situations into something a bit more manageable.
Acquiring Eating Disorder Treatment and Achieving Mindfulness
To achieve mindfulness in eating disorder recovery, patients can acquire care from skilled providers at residential eating disorder treatment centers. These experts will help their patients challenge their disordered thought patterns and work toward becoming fully recovered. Reach out and find a center that specializes in mindfulness near you – there’s nothing to lose and a recovered life to gain.