(Guest author: Jeff Cannon)
Eating disorders are a complex issue: they are the result of both genetics and societal pressures. For people who are genetically predisposed to disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, the pressures of our 24/7 media world and society in general can be overwhelming. The eating disorder may take over, spiraling the person out of control. As some say, “genetics loads the gun, but society pulls the trigger.”
While not a cure, meditation and mindfulness are two powerful practices that can help moderate the noise and distractions of the world in general. They can reduce the impact of advertising and other societal triggers that can lead to larger issues. Meditation and mindfulness can provide a tool for those from eating disorders to ground themselves, so that they can gain some control over their lives and their disorders.
Deep Breathing Mini Meditation
The key to an effective meditation practice is learning how to use your breath as a way to center yourself. A few minutes in meditation can calm you, lower your blood pressure, reduce your anxiety and keep you grounded no matter where you are. If you start to feel anxious, take a breath in through your nose by slowly moving your diaphragm downward. Feel your abdomen expand for a slow count to eight. Hold it for a count to two and slowly exhale it for another count to eight. Feel the air slowly enter and then slowly leave your body. As thoughts enter your mind, simply acknowledge them, and then return your focus to your count. Use this as a way to ground yourself at any point in your day – even if for a few minutes.
There is no better time to set the pace of your day than when you first wake up. Before you get out of bed in the morning, take a few minutes to place attention on your breathing. Put one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest and take a few deep breaths. Don’t just jump into your day, give yourself the three, five even ten minutes you deserve to balance your morning, steady your thoughts and guide your day in the right direction.
Acknowledge your feelings
When your emotions start to rise, don’t just let them take over. Be aware of them. Make a note of how you are feeling. For example, if someone makes a snide comment, acknowledge how you feel. Actually say to yourself, “I’m feeling upset,” or “I’m feeling scared.” Even if you are not the focus of what is being said, become aware of how someone else’s life is affecting your own. Remind yourself that although you have no control over the world around you, but you can control how you respond to it. If you need to, step away and take a mini-meditation break to return yourself to a place of calm.
Hopefully these exercises can help maintain a sense of calm and control throughout your day, so that you can live your life, your way.
Guest author Jeff Cannon is an avid meditator, and credits meditation and other mind-body practices with his success is managing a dangerous medical crisis. Read more about Jeff’s story and gain hope in The Simple Truth.
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