Practicing mindfulness can be a powerful way to strengthen your eating disorder recovery. Learn more about the benefits of mindfulness for those who struggle with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder or disordered eating.
by: Abigail Knowles
Mindfulness has been defined as a “moment to moment awareness” of ones daily-activities and experiences in a non-judgmental manner . When I think about mindfulness, my mind jumps to meditation. However, mindfulness goes past the scope of meditation and applies more to a psychological state than the act or practice of meditation. In a previous blog post, The Importance of Self Care, I covered ways to integrate self-care into daily practices and, in this post; I will go a step further in addressing the scientifically established benefits of mindfulness and non-judgmental thinking in eating disorder recovery.
Reduction of Rumination
Practicing mindfulness has been shown to reduce rumination, which is often a hallmark of eating disorders. A rumination or obsession with food, or the restriction of food intake, cultivates an unhealthy relationship with food and can lead to disorganized eating patterns and eating disorders.
Improved self image
Mindfulness, as it’s definition suggests, is the practice of non-judgmental thinking and this mindset can lead to an improved self-image and an improved self-efficacy. Resultantly, mindfulness can help to improve an individual’s relationship with their body and food .
Benefits for Binge Eating Disorder
Mindfulness has been implicated in treatment for binge eating disorders. Binge eating disorders are defined, in part, by the inner turmoil and struggle with that individual’s relationship with food and a disconnect between internal satiety mechanisms and eating patterns . Mindfulness has been shown to be beneficial in ‘food intake regulation’ as well as improving how an individual evaluates when they are full and when they are hungry . Furthermore, practicing mindfulness is suggested to increase ‘body image flexibility’ which can reduce disordered eating patterns . One such methodology, the mindfulness-based eating awareness training, developed by Jean Kristeller, has been explored for its effects on binge eating patterns.
Helpful resources towards integrating mindfulness into your life:
The top 10 mindfulness phone apps are a chance to jumpstart your road to working mindfulness into your daily routine. Additionally, there are exercises that you can utilize to bring you into a positive headspace.