As a major part of binge eating disorder treatment, people benefit from learning about key coping skills to use in daily life. Specialists in eating disorder treatment use many varying mindfulness techniques to promote recovery, but a few are consistently used in almost every setting: mindfulness, meditation, and journaling. With these skills, it is easier to manage stress and remain recovered after official residential or
Here’s a handy guide to these important components of binge eating disorder recovery for people who are interested in learning more about how to maintain recovery:
Yoga and other forms of meditation are almost universally used at eating disorder treatment centers. Once people have begun their journey toward mastering mindfulness, they can start using meditation as part of their daily routine. Meditation promotes self-awareness and separation from distressing emotions and thoughts, allowing people in recovery to separate themselves from their eating disorder.
How Meditation Promotes Emotional Healing
When individuals with an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or others, they may learn how to practice meditation. Meditation, by allowing a person to separate their awareness from their emotions, facilitates clarity, and impartial thought patterns to replace disordered ones.
Meditation goes beyond mindfulness by not only making a person aware of their emotions but to identify which of them are self-destructive. Through that process, it is possible to create a safe space mentally as a deliberate act. This proves instrumental to resisting urges to binge eat and other stressors that can precede a potential relapse.
While meditating, people can feel at peace as they tune out the things causing them to feel upset. People with binge eating disorderare encouraged to take a moment and meditate when their thoughts turn to eating or when their emotions become troubling. By taking a step back in this manner, it is easier to gain perspective and take the appropriate next steps to prevent a return to their disordered eating behaviors.
Meditation Methods That Aid Binge Eating Disorder Treatment
The essence of meditation is removing yourself from outside stimuli and observing the present moment. The first step is normally to sit still and focus on breathing until there are no thoughts, no emotions interfering with your experience of the moment. Mastering this technique takes a lot of practice, but thankfully, there are many ways to build this skill. Therapists at eating disorder treatment centers use various methods to help clients achieve this state:
Achieving a complete state of emptiness and awareness is often difficult, especially early on in a person’s efforts at meditation. Guided meditation eases the process by revolving around listening to someone describe a peaceful scene and visualizing it with as much detail as possible. In some cases, a recording may be used, or a trained meditation leader might be present to guide an individual or group.
At first, might seem difficult to focus entirely on the guidance, as their emotions and sensations from outside are difficult to ignore. This normally improves with time and practice. After extensive practice, shutting out these interfering agents becomes easier, and they can often switch to the next phase of meditation with ease.
Mindful meditation can be a key part of binge eating disorder treatment, as it allows people to find their center and calm their minds during stressful times. Mindfulness is important to recovery, as we’ll see below, and making it the focus of meditation provides a foundation for relapse prevention.
As thoughts arise, whether negative or positive, they are to simply acknowledge them and let them go without reacting. The individual shouldn’t allow their emotions to guide their thinking or actions, but rather just process that they exist.
This allows a person in binge disorder treatment to objectively observe how their mind works and assess the thoughts that arise without triggering reactions. They can stop avoiding their negative thoughts and emotions by resorting to disordered eating behaviors and instead face the problem head-on, which goes a long way in helping promote their recovery.
People with binge eating disorder symptoms are usually encouraged to reassess their relationships with their emotions and thought patterns as much as they do so with their bodies and relationships with eating. This usually takes place in the form of mindfulness exercises at the treatment center.
What Is Mindfulness?
It’s difficult without practice to be truly aware of the effects our thoughts and emotions have on our behaviors. It’s almost as if there is a wall between how we think and how we act. This wall prevents people from thinking about the risks and repercussions of their disordered behaviors, continuing, and perhaps worsening the symptoms of the disorder.
The point of mindfulness activities is to remove that wall and help people to non-judgmentally be aware of those emotions.
Mindfulness is a state of awareness that allows feelings and thoughts to exist without influencing behavior. It promotes an understanding of the self. Mindfulness also reveals how these elements reinforce each other and act as a barrier to becoming recovered. Importantly, mindfulness centers around living in the moment, which means past trauma or the regret of past events don’t create new negative feelings.
Mindfulness is a skill that takes effort and practice to master. Mindfulness leaders at eating disorder treatment centers give people that chance, offering them guidance and support as they learn to become mindful. Regular meditation and other mindfulness activities can improve the ease a person reaches this state.
Benefits of Mindfulness in Binge Eating Disorder Treatment
By viewing themselves objectively and remaining in the present moment, people with binge eating disorder can start to identify their disordered thoughts and emotions. With the removal of those factors, they can start to see their path to recovery and the obstacles standing in their way.
Using mindfulness as a base for recovery allows people to gain valuable insights into their minds and bodies. In addition to boosting self-awareness, mindfulness can also help:
- Identify negative thought patterns
- Establish control over disordered behaviors
- Improve self-esteem and confidence
- Decrease dependence on coping behaviors
- Identify binge eating episode triggers
This skill teaches people with binge eating disorder that they are more than the sum of their thoughts. It reveals that they can control those thoughts and redirect their energy away from disordered behaviors. These are the stepping stones to the self-awareness and self-control that facilitate a full recovery from binge eating disorder.
Mindfulness Techniques Used at Binge Eating Disorder Treatment Centers
Many binge eating treatment center steach mindfulness as a central segment of the overall recovery plan, as it helps support progress in other types of therapy such as CBT. Both cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), for example, use mindfulness as an integral part of the healing process.
Unless they already have a good grasp of this technique, clients will likely learn to become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and actions in therapy. Mindful activities such as guided mediation or yoga are usually conducted in both group and individual settings.
To practice this skill, clients at the center might be guided to:
- Identify their emotions without acting upon them or assigning value to them
- Write about their emotions, acknowledging them without judgment
- Report back with their findings to receive guidance and support
Mindfulness requires a lot of practice, but it’s useful for a lifetime, long after treatment at a facility is over.Training in staying neutral is key to successful mindfulness practices. Trying to begin with stressful situations can backfire, leading to more problems down the road.While learning this skill, people may be instructed to practice at various times of the day, including:
- First thing after waking up
- During breaks at work or school
- Before or after mealtimes
Before suggesting any time to practice mindfulness, therapists will consider all the potential triggers and create a plan that avoids them at first. As people get better at this skill, however, they can start to practice during tough situations, like eating meals, to face their fears and start healing.
How a person continues to interpret their emotions and urges regarding binge eating disorder when a therapist isn’t around to speak with is important in maintaining recovery. For this reason, journaling is a vital part of most recovery programs; it’s a sustainable option for processing emotions that can be done alone, any time.
Why Is Journaling Effective for Binge Eating Treatment?
Journaling compliments mindfulness practices and other therapeutic techniques, as it provides a place for people to write down what comes across their minds. Sometimes the simple act of putting a thought down on paper makes it more manageable and “real.” With those insights, people can find their triggers, clearly identify their disordered thoughts, and begin to process them.
Writing thoughts down and returning to them later can also provide much-needed perspective. The difference between feeling “I want to eat because I feel distressed or unhappy’ and seeing written down can help a person identify the thought as disordered. They can then work with their therapist to find patterns and discover areas to work on as they become recovered from binge eating disorder.
Journaling Practices at a Binge Eating Disorder Treatment Center
In order to normalize the practice and make it a reflexive habit, journaling is usually introduced very early on in binge eating disorder treatment.At first, the client might struggle to express their thoughts, especially if they are not used to keeping a journal. As they find problem areas and start to work on the bigger issues, they may use journaling to get around specific topics that their therapist has suggested.
Journaling exercises used in binge eating treatment include:
- Trying out fiction or poetry to bring out feelings simple journaling doesn’t
- Using a bullet journal to reveal stressors and challenges ahead
- Trying prompts that therapists suggest
- Answering questions about their key motivations and concerns
Using Mindfulness, Meditation, and Journaling Together for Recovery
Binge eating disorder treatment at a modern treatment center uses mindfulness, meditation, and journaling together as pillars of a comprehensive treatment plan. Unlike the psychiatric and medical support that a residential treatment center provides, these techniques can be performed by the client for years to come without additional outside help. They are well worth the time to learn as they can help keep everyone on course through both happy and difficult times.
To receive help in recovering from binge eating disorder you can reach out to an eating disorder treatment center like Oliver-Pyatt Centers. Admissions specialists are standing by to help people connect with a treatment team ready to provide exceptional care. Call today to find out more about our unique approach to helping people become recovered from eating disorders.