Most people have heard about how beneficial meditation can be when it comes to reducing stress, encouraging focus, and fostering a greater sense of well being. Meditation has helped people struggling with a variety of issues, including eating disorders. Experts have found that treatment for binge eating disorders can especially benefit from a regular meditation practice.
So how does someone get started with meditation? There are a few ways to do that. One important thing to know about meditation is that there’s no one right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply a matter of finding what works best for you as a unique individual. You can choose to meditate every day for as little as 5 minutes or as long as an hour, it all depends on what fits best into your lifestyle. No matter how long you choose to meditate, where you do it, or what method you choose, you will notice a difference by practicing it regularly.
Here are just a few ideas on how to get started:
-Try to find a place to practice every day where you know you won’t be disturbed. Background noise is fine, but there should be nothing in the environment demanding your attention. Start off by closing your eyes and focusing on the natural flow of your breathing. Notice how your breath feels going in and out of your body. When a thought enters your mind, acknowledge it gently and return to focusing on your breath. Do this as many times as you need to – thoughts are natural and will arise no matter what.
-Choose a word that is relaxing for you and focus on it while sitting. Picture elements of nature while repeating that word in your mind.
-Scan through every part of your body and feel the sensations there. Notice any pain, discomfort, tension, tingling, or anything else that you feel. Breathe and move on until you’ve scanned your whole body.
-Focus on feeling compassion. Imagine it as a golden light radiating from within your body and reaching out to others. Imagine this compassion reaching someone you care about, then focus on the compassion reaching someone you have anger or resentment towards. Finally, feel that same compassion for yourself and wish yourself peace and well being.
-Check in throughout the day to see what you are feeling. Whether you are eating, driving, washing dishes, or walking, bring your attention to the breath and the sensations in the body.
-Imagine what it feels like to be free from binge eating. Picture yourself among all sorts of food and eating moderately. Remind yourself that the food is there for your nourishment and well being.
How can mediation help with a binge eating disorder?
Because meditation has such a powerful effect on lowering stress levels, researchers have found that it also helps those struggling with binge eating disorders. This is because many binge eaters use food as a way to cope with stress and anxiety. When they find a healthier way to manage their stress levels, the urge to binge eat is greatly diminished.
Another thing that meditation does is help an individual become more aware of their thought patterns, reactions, behaviors, and feelings. Once you become more attuned to what’s going on inside of yourself, you are then better able to control urges and compulsions. You also learn to stop judging or being afraid of unpleasant emotions. Instead of dealing with them by binge eating, you learn to accept your feelings as natural.