Eating Disorders and Body Appreciation
- Category: Self-Help
Mindfulness Unifying Exercise for Eating Disorder Recovery
*pix Natural, at ease and whole
To mend the split eating disorders create between your mind, heart, spirit and body, try this mindfulness practice.
First, for a moment, step away from appreciating your body only in terms of aesthetics relating to weight, size and shape. Give yourself an opportunity to consider your body from a new and different perspective. This exercise can open valuable communication between all aspects of yourself. The value to you is in what might be a surprising lead to your recovery.
Plan on giving yourself a half an hour or less.
- Pay attention to your breath and let your mind go quiet.
- If thoughts or judgments come in, just breathe and let them pass by.
- Bring your attention to your heart, and give yourself permission to love.
- Bring your attention to the top of your head. You now will thank your body as if you are talking a person.
Thank you, skull, for protecting my brain so I can function in this world.
Thank you, brain, for allowing me to think and intuit and for keeping my body working.
Thank you, eyes, for letting me see as much as I can of this world.
Move through your entire body, covering your neck, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, chest, back, spine, ribs, abdomen, stomach, genitals, legs, ankles, feet, toes, Thank each part of your body for the work it does, and be specific about recognizing that work.
Thank you, muscles, for allowing me to move.
Thank you muscles, for allowing me to lift my child or cuddle with my cat or embrace my friend or brush my teeth.
If you do this exercise on a regular basis you will develop the ability to go deeper. You will be able to mindfully thank specific organs, veins and systems. For example, you could thank your immune system for protecting you. You could thank your body for its mysterious and wonderful ability to heal. You could thank your skin, the largest organ of all, for protecting you and providing you with sensations that warn you, bring you pleasure and connect you to other people.
When you are ready, you could thank specific areas of your body for tolerating and forgiving the assaults of your eating disorder. You could thank your body for always doing its best to recover, heal and provide you with the best home possible in this world.
Pay attention to how your body feels as you express your appreciation.
If you continue to do this exercise, over time you might feel that you want to do more than say thank you. You might want to help your body with love and kindness to carry on all the tasks that allow you to live in this world. This exercise has little or nothing to do with weight or physical beauty. It has everything to do with appreciation, health and love. It can help you evolve to freedom.
You may experience powerful feelings when you start this mindfulness exercise.
- You can journal your responses.
- You can share them in the comments.
- You can share them in your support group.
- You can share them with your psychotherapist so you can work together to support your integration.
Which options are best for you?
Joanna Poppink, MFT, Los Angeles eating disorder recovery psychotherapist
*pix by Andrey Belloly, Russian, 19th century painting of sitting woman. This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less.