Recovery can feel challenging and overwhelming. Questions like “When will I feel better? What do I need to do to actually recover?” can plague the mind. How do you find the one thing that can accelerate your recovery?
Everyone’s journey to recovery from an eating disorder is different but they all have one thing in common. Change. Change is inevitable and necessary in order to let go of your eating disorder. This doesn’t mean that change looks the same for everyone. What worked for one person, may not work for someone else and vice versa.
Below are 5 different perspectives on what was a critical component necessary for recovery. In other words, one thing that changed everything and set the foundation for change.
Eating disorders are isolating and can make you feel like you’re the only one who feels this way. A feeling that easily turns into a vicious cycle of shame and disconnection. This is where community can play a huge role in breaking this cycle. When you talk to other people who are struggling you see you’re not alone and that other people are going through this too. It allows you to see that talking about it is okay and actually helpful in recovery. A community can be found in different places such as treatment, online, or support groups.
Eating disorders thrive in an environment of shame, guilt, and self-loathing, and part of feeling lonely and isolated is that it’s hard to be kind to yourself. Eating disorders tend to take away self-kindness and the ability to treat yourself like you’d treat a dear friend or loved one. Allowing self-compassion to come into your life can help you take back the power from your eating disorder and build a solid foundation for recovery.
Practicing self-compassion might sound like an impossible thing to do when you’re in the trenches of your eating disorder. It might feel foreign to treat yourself with kindness and tell yourself that you’re worthy of recovery. Patience is key here.
When you practice self-compassion consistently, you will see a shift in the way you think about yourself and the world around you. That’s the power of self-compassion and allows your brain to rewire in a way that benefits your recovery.
3. Finding a purpose
Oftentimes, eating disorders take away your dreams and your ability to really listen to what you want to do and how you want to live your life. As a result, we find ourselves seeking approval and acceptance from our environments, such as friends, coworkers, or family members.
Allowing yourself to find a reason to recover and really listen to what you value, enables you to find that motivation necessary to move forward in your recovery. What brings you joy? What are your values? When it’s difficult to think about this because you feel so lost in your eating disorder it can be helpful to think about the things you used to value before you developed an eating disorder. Working with a treatment team can be key in finding your deeper purpose and ultimately, a goal for recovery.
Yoga has benefits that go beyond the physical aspect of it. The yogic philosophy can be powerful in distinguishing who you are and who you want to be from who you are not. We are all worthy and deserving of love and belonging and allowing yourself to change the way you view yourself can be an important driver in your recovery.
5. Self-awareness and mindfulness
Eating disorders tend to thrive on negative thoughts and feelings about ourselves and the world around us. Often times we find ourselves acting on those thoughts.
Thoughts and feelings start to control your life and affect your decisions. Paying attention to your thoughts, actions, and emotions allows you to discover patterns and what lies underneath your eating disorder. Self-monitoring can be a powerful way to gain more self-awareness and learn about what’s really going on in your internal world. It’s hard to change certain behaviors if you don’t know what’s driving you to engage in those behaviors. Once you understand yourself more, it’s easier to change and be open to doing what’s needed to recover.
Ultimately, recovery requires change and it requires self-compassion and self-awareness to find out your deeper meaning. Your deeper WHY you want to recover. Eating disorder recovery is not a one size fits all. There are a lot of things that many of us can relate to and that we share in the recovery experience, but there are also things that are totally different and unique for every individual. Treatment providers can help you find the way that fits you.