Castlewood Eating Disorder Treatment Center Blog
Healing Distorted Thinking by Practicing Mindfulness

Healing Distorted Thinking by Practicing Mindfulness

With so many technological distractions, modern everyday life does not always support staying in the present moment. But practicing mindfulness can truly help individuals recovering from eating disorders to let go of stress, build positive coping skills and prevent relapse. Changing unhealthy behaviors can be a challenging process, but neuroscience demonstrates certain practices, like mindfulness, meditation and prayer, can dramatically change neuropathways and promote flexibility with thinking and decision making. Mindfulness is derived for the most part from Buddhist philosophy, and can be practiced as meditation, yoga, tai chi or simply as a pause or break in one’s day to re-focus. Mindfulness is a non-judgmental awareness or focus on one’s feelings, experiences, and internal and external processes in the present moment. This allows a space between you and what’s going on inside and around you, to establish a sense of self-acceptance and adaptability. Eating disorders tend to become habitual coping behaviors to escape difficult and complex feelings. By becoming more aware of the thoughts and feelings rushing around often in a cognitive mess; mindfulness promotes recognizing the distortions that exist in our thinking. Taking time to pause and sit alone in focused consideration, allows the opportunity to take more deliberate and careful action, putting aside initial responses and redirecting toward a positive result. Instead of heading down the all too familiar road of negative thinking and overwhelming feelings, which can dominate the mind of an individual with an eating disorder, practicing mindfulness can be a transformative way of taking back control. With any given moment, there is something to focus on and appreciate, and practicing mindfulness is like training to be more open to possibilities. It is possible in recovery not to be the victim of distorted thinking and negative emotion, but to live deliberately and choose a healthier more meaningful life.