In this modern world where a single click could quite literally result in a compromise of any self-esteem and self-worth, the prospect of grappling with body image issues has become significantly amplified. With seemingly flawless pictures posted online and mounting societal pressures to fit into a specific mould in order to be deemed “beautiful”, the number of individuals suffering from eating disorders ranging from orthorexia to bulimia to binge-eating has been on the rise. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem, one way to reduce perpetual discontentment is actually to practice something very simple – mindfulness.
According to a study by Eastern Washington University, practising mindfulness can be an effective treatment to eating disorders, especially since eating disorders are associated with self-criticism, perfectionism, and control. By being more mindful, we will be able to take greater notice of our thoughts and emotions, where we essentially keep ourselves in check.
What are some of the benefits of practising mindfulness, and how can this serve as a means to achieve the end that is overcoming eating disorders? First and foremost, practising mindfulness can help ensure that we’re kept more in tune with our environment, such that we’re able to identify what the conditions around us trigger.
For instance, being surrounded by pictures of models could trigger certain negative reactions that put you in a bad mood for the rest of the day. However, once you’re aware of these micro-reactions, you can take steps to change them through various mindful techniques. Some of these include journaling, practising meditation on a daily basis, or even taking a pause to breathe in deeply and relax for a minute, such that your thought patterns are altered for the better.
In fact, meditating can also cultivate the mind and boost your mood. According to former editor-in-chief of Harvard Women’s Health Anne Fabiny, meditation can be an effective anti-depressant, as it improves your mood and allows feelings of negativity to drift out of your consciousness in an organic manner. All you need to do is to set aside 10 minutes of your day to meditate for a brighter and happier week!
Lastly, being mindful of yourself and your inner critic by demonstrating self-compassion is one of the most important traits that anyone can have. We’re constantly on our own backs for not being pretty enough or lean enough, but practising self-compassion and self-love can get rid of all of that negativity in order to heal and recover. If we’re able to show others kindness and compassion, then why shouldn’t we extend this to ourselves too?
The art of mindfulness is admittedly difficult to master but possessing the ability to empower ourselves by taking heed of our insecurities and how we treat ourselves is essential to leading a healthier and transformed lifestyle. Sometimes, simply brushing off our imperfections is far better a course of action than fretting over our flaws.