Recovery is one long hard uncomfortable journey. You don’t know what triggers await you at every turn every corner. Maybe it’s that time of the afternoon when you have a strong urge to use one of many Eating Disorder behaviors and next thing you know the demon of Eating Disorder is back. It’s happened so often that your Eating Disorder behavior has become a habit. After all, it makes you feel something and forget everything for a moment. It’s very difficult coping with the urge not to use Eating Disorder behavior, especially if you’re Eating Disorder has become an ingrained habit. Someone asked me how do you distract yourself? There are many ways to distract yourself. This disease is so deadly that I feel we need a manual of 101 distractions.
Get Creative- A reader from Mali has hidden Artistic talents and I would love to see her beautiful creative work one day. The act of creation engages the part of your brain involved in artistic design, preparation and execution. It takes mental effort, and the rewards are substantial. The pride you feel in your accomplishment is similar to the release of endorphins from physical exercise. A sense of pride is also good for your overall psyche.
Most importantly I found this body scan meditation by Dr Irina Webster very interesting. Meditation is a means of distracting your consciousness from the urge to give into your Eating Disorder and replacing it with a healthier alternative. Another benefit of meditation is that it releases something in your brain, relaxes you and help you feel good – without any real hardship! Calming your mind, silencing those little voices in your head that whisper you need to lose weight, to binge/purge, exercise. The more time you spend emptying your thoughts, just concentrating on your breathing in meditation or yoga, or appreciating the beauty of nature, is more time that you are free of the urge to use Eating Disorder behaviors. Don’t think of this as a chore. Just give yourself the opportunity to rest your mind. Start with 10 to 15 minutes. You may be amazed at how great you feel afterward. The urge to purge may completely disappear, at least for now. And that’s you’re one small step towards defeating the demon of Eating Disorder and then you build yourself from there. Remember, no one recovers overnight and no-one can go absolutely Cold-Turkey on their Eating Disorder. We have to work at it. we’re after here, to unite and defeat the demon of Eating Disorder.
Body Scan Meditation includes going into a deep meditative state and scan your body while meditating. This kind of meditation not only slows down your brain waves, it also helps your brain to produce Oxytocin which is hormone of love and bonding .
Eating disorder sufferers don’t have enough of this hormone produced and that is why they have so much problems with love and bonding.
Now, how to do this meditation?
Make sure that you are not driving, not walking and not operate any machinery as we are going to go deep into a meditative state.
The purpose of this meditation is certainly not just to relax. The purpose is to know your body, to develop body awareness and awareness of your own thoughts and the mind. An equanimity, which is a term that means balance of the mind, composure, equilibrium. It means not reacting with either craving for what is pleasant ( food), or aversion for what is not pleasant. It means a form of acceptance, unconditional acceptance.
It is not a way of getting rid of unpleasant sensations. It is not a way of attracting pleasant sensations or pleasant experiences. It is a way of learning to accept whatever is there and get on with life. Relaxation becomes a byproduct of that, because when acceptance is increased, you relax.
Start by focusing all your attention to your nostrils, and look at the incoming and outgoing breath, as it comes in, as it goes out. Do not judge whether this moment is pleasant or unpleasant. Learn to be balanced, not reactive, neutral.
Move your attention to the top of your head and see whatever sensation you feel over there. You may not feel any sensation yet. Certainly you will not feel the subtle ones. There are millions of sensations on top of your head that your mind hasn’t been sharpened enough to feel. In time this will come if you persevere. For now, you may feel perhaps some gross sensations, itching, ants crawling, pressure, temperature of some type. Anything, or maybe you’ll feel nothing. It doesn’t matter. It is still an experience. Not feeling anything is still an experience, therefore you just observe, no reaction.
If any thought overpowers you, maybe a recurring thought, then go back to the awareness of breathing in and breathing out for a few seconds, even half a minute if you can. If it’s still overpowering, breathe slightly harder. Not too hard, slightly harder. We don’t want you to hyperventilate. And then as soon as you are aware of the breathing again, the thought is gone, then start slowing down the breathing. And again, when you can slow down the breathing and you feel relaxed again, go back to the sensation where you left and continue scanning the entire scalp area. And then move to the forehead and survey the entire forehead area.
Survey the eyebrows. Start with one, continue with the other. Move down to the nose. Look at any sensation on the nose. Move further down to the mouth. Survey the lips, any sensations in your lips. Look at the tongue, any sensation on the tongue. Of course your mouth is closed, or the lips gently parted, but you are breathing through the nose. Look at the chin, any sensation on your chin. Move up to the left cheek, and then move aside to the right cheek.
If you have any sensation, don’t get attached to it in any way, just move further. Move up to the left ear, and move aside to the right ear. Now survey the throat area, any sensation in the throat area. It can be anything, pain, strain, tingling sensation, itching sensation, pulling, throbbing, sweating. Any sensation is a sensation, it is an experience. Just observe.
Keep moving. When you finish surveying the throat area, survey the entire neck area and move to the left shoulder. In fact, you could start by any shoulder as long as you keep the same order all the time.
Survey the entire left arm and left elbow. Patiently and calmly survey the entire left wrist and left hand. Then go up to the right shoulder.
Move down to the right arm, and the right elbow. Move to the right forearm, and down to the right wrist and the right hand. Then move up to the upper chest area, the upper chest. Piece by piece. Then move down, piece by piece, survey the entire thorax and abdomen area.
If you feel your heartbeat and you interpret it such as that, then you are not looking simply at sensations. You are interpreting the sensations. Try to remain with the task of pure observation, no evaluation, no interpretation. Just observation.
Then move up to the upper back area and look at any sensation you may find in your upper back area. Very calmly, equanimously. And move down to the lower back area. Try not to get caught in your thoughts. As soon as you think something, quickly go back to the awareness of any sensation you were looking at, and move further. Maybe you haven’t felt a sensation for some time, so the mind is bored.
Now keep moving down to the buttocks and survey the entire buttocks area. Start with the left, and once this is surveyed, then move to the right buttock. Move down to the left thigh and survey the entire thigh down to the left knee. Then move down to the left leg.
Even though there may be gross sensations like pain perhaps, or pressure, tension, be very still accepting every experience. Within the worst and most painful sensation, if you come across any today or another day, you will find that if you are very very still, there is an underlying current inside that sensation. An underlying sensation, a flow of very tiny little sensations running through.
Go down now to the left ankle, until you survey the entire left foot. Now go up to the right thigh and survey the entire right thigh, part by part. Keep moving, down to the right knee. The right ankle and the right foot.
You have now surveyed the entire body from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. Now start from the tip of your toes and go up back to the top of your head. Start from the left foot and move up to the left thigh. And then the right foot, move up to the right thigh. Then survey the buttocks, and the lower back. The upper back, and then the lower abdomen. The entire abdomen and chest. From the upper chest go up to the throat. And from the left hand go up to the left shoulder. From the right hand then, go up to the right shoulder. Survey then the entire neck area, and then the face, part by part, and the entire scalp area.
Scan your body entirely, as long as you can give it time. As you will practice correctly, your mind will become increasingly detached at the deepest level, at the level of body sensations. Remember, the most important thing is that all sensations and all thoughts are temporaryby nature. The impression that they remain is because we react to them, we reinforce them. Reacting to it is only increasing reinforcement and conditioning in daily life.
What you do during this training will be reflected in your daily life. It is a very effective technique. Watch that as you practice, of course you will react, but watch that you react less and less, and the results are surprising.
For more information about meditation for eating disorders go to http://meditation-sensation.com/