Whether you’re someone who’s not ready or interested to pursue a spiritual life, or someone who’s looking for the way to strengthen a connection, mindfulness is an approach that is accessible to everyone.
At White Picket Fence Counseling Center, we hear a lot of people say things like, “I’m so bright in other areas of my life – why can’t I get this?” or, “I’ve been so successful in my career, but I just can’t get control of my eating or food issues.”
The simple truth is that eating disorders don’t make sense. We need to make sense of them. And the only way to do that is to tune in to what’s going on inside. Not just in our minds (we’re so used to living “from the neck up”) but in our whole bodies.
Last month on the blog we talked about the mind-body disconnect of eating disorders, and how yoga is one very effective way to reconnect. A big part of yoga is an invitation to be still and look inwards, listening to your body (on and off the mat) and listening to your mind.
In yoga we call it meditation, but if that doesn’t feel right for you, call it mindfulness. Being mindful of who you are, where you are, what you feel, what you know and what you want.
Some people have used the analogy of plugging yourself in, the way you would your cell phone. Whether you’re re-charging, or even charging up for the first time, getting quiet and practicing mindfulness can help you achieve the feeling of being centered, or grounded.
When you’re lost in the compulsion, obsession, discomfort and unease of an eating disorder, you can feel pretty out of control and out of reach. That’s why virtually every recovery and treatment method recommends some form of mindfulness as a way of reconnecting the body and mind.
If you’re still not convinced that mindfulness is worth the time or effort, consider this:
Imagine that you’re driving along the road and all of a sudden someone pulls out in front of you and you’re forced to slam on your brakes to avoid an accident. What’s going on in your body at that point? Your muscles are probably clenched, as is your stomach (where digestion has actually stopped, so that the rest of your body’s systems will be ready for whatever stressor you’re facing). Your heart is probably racing from the urge of adrenalin.
In psychological terms that’s called the fight or flight response, and it’s a really good illustration of the mind-body connection. The good news is that just as anxious thoughts can cause stressful reactions in the body, so can relaxing thoughts cause healing reactions in the body.
And just as good news, relaxing bodywork can soothe the mind from anxious thinking to more positive and hopeful, actually altering your brain chemistry in the process. So we can see how mindfulness helps to heal both physical and emotional pain. Here is an article from Psychology Today about a research study that demonstrates how meditation positively alters the brain.
Even just a few minutes of mindfulness per day could make a big difference to your mind, body and yes, your soul.
This post was originally published on the White Picket Fence Counseling Center blog at http://whitepicketfencecounselingcenter.com/a-few-mindful-moments-can-bring-powerful-healing.html.