In This Issue:
Featured Wellness Message: Positive Thinking Is Good for Your Health
Recommended Resource: Transitional Breathing
My Psychology Today Article: Do Mirrors Help or Harm Eating Disorder Recovery?
My Featured Post: How to Unlock Your Hidden Strengths and Recover from an Eating Disorder
The Power of Positive Thinking 💬
It’s almost summertime! And it's an ideal time to let the sunshine in on your mental health. It may sound trite, but let me remind you of the power of positive thinking.
Research shows that optimism, created by cultivating and practicing positive thinking, is associated with better mental and physical health and more satisfying relationships.
No matter how complicated your life has been, developing realistic optimism is possible. It begins by focusing on what you have rather than what you don’t.
Optimism is a mindset you can create.
Try noticing the small and simple things that make your life worthwhile, like enjoying a sunset, feeling grateful for the people in your life, taking a hopeful stance in a difficult situation, limiting your exposure to negative input, or being inspired by art, among other joyful possibilities.
Be intentional about paying attention on purpose to what is good in your life.
Lift your mood by taking a few minutes to focus on something that makes you happy. Foster resilience by surrounding yourself with positive people who inspire you. Identify what you appreciate about yourself when you look in the mirror and when your own goodness shines in the world.
Let positive thoughts sink in and wash over you. It may just change your health, your relationships, and the course of your life!
“I have a feeling tomorrow will be better is different from I resolve to make tomorrow better.”
Take It Easy
Try Transitional Breaths
"Take It Easy" the song written decades ago by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, recorded by The Eagles, offers sage advice:
"Take it easy, don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy, lighten up while you still can, don't even try to understand, find a place to take your stand, and take it easy."
If you find yourself anxious, worried, taking life too seriously, caught in negative thought loops, or chronically overthinking, you may benefit from learning how to take it easy. With a little guidance and effort, you can take control and shift your mental habits to be more positive.
A mindfulness technique called transitional breaths is a simple, active approach that can help, according to Mindfulness coach, Sancha Clark, who specialises in making mindfulness accessible and enjoyable for people of all ages.
No matter what your starting point, she says "instead of rushing out of bed and starting your day in a frenzy, simply taking three transitional breaths creates a moment of stillness before your day begins and from here you can set an intention for how you want the rest of the day to go."
Transitional breaths are quick and easy.
Identify transition points in your day (for example: waking up, arriving at work, lunchtime, arriving home from work, going to bed), and pause to take three deep breaths as you meet each point – inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth at a slower rate.
Doing this ensures a pause before you move from one part of your day to another and allows you to make space for intentional decisions.
You can find Sancha Clark on Instagram.
If you are ready to get started but your mind feels like a wild monkey, jumping around from thought to thought, forcing it to be calm may not work. Instead, try practicing everyday for one month, using this free 3-minute Headspace video. With repetition, you can learn to breathe mindfully and tame your jumpy mind, find peace in stillness, tune in to your hunger and fullness cues before and during meals, and experience a greater sense of ease as you transition from one task to another throughout the day.
Try adding transitional breaths in your daily routine to cultivate positivity, manage stress more effectively, reduce mindless eating, and increase intentional living.
Do Mirrors Help or Harm Eating Disorder Recovery?
The surprising controversy between mirror avoidance and mirror exposure
To most of us, mirrors are unobtrusive functional objects we come into contact with every day but don’t give much thought to. But mirrors play a far more complex role in the lives of those with eating disorders, eating disorder behaviors, anxiety, or body dissatisfaction.
Recent research suggests that disturbances in how we see ourselves can play a central role in the development of eating disorders.
When people with eating disorders look in the mirror, they often fixate on and scrutinize separate body parts, rather than seeing themselves as a whole. They also experience heightened levels of anxiety as a result.
So if mirrors can make us feel worse about our bodies, shouldn’t we avoid them?
While mirror avoidance may prove useful for some, research suggests that excessive avoidance behaviors may increase anxiety about physical appearance. Even worse, it can give rise to feelings of shame connected to one’s reflection.
With emotion, body image, and eating disorders so closely linked, techniques such as mirror exposure can help to improve mental health and body image. Mirror exposure is a treatment whereby individuals are exposed to their mirror reflection in a deliberate and planned way.
To learn more about the precautions and benefits of mirror avoidance and mirror exposure, please read my full Psychology Today article.
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How to Unlock Your Hidden Strengths and Recover from an Eating Disorder
Learn how a strength-based approach can boost recovery
Focusing on your positive qualities can help you feel empowered and build resilience, self-esteem, and connect with a sense of purpose—even while in eating disorder recovery.
The strength-based approach perceives individuals as complex and multifaceted with strengths, weaknesses, and unique experiences.
Instead of viewing people only according to their diagnoses or symptoms, this approach focuses on identifying and building on positive qualities, such as creativity, empathy, humor, or perseverance. This approach recognizes that even if somebody is struggling with mental health issues, they carry within themselves the potential for growth, learning, and self-improvement.
Your strengths are an important part of your identity, your eating disorder is not.
By separating your identity from the eating disorder and aligning your identity with your positive qualities, you can unlock new possibilities in your recovery. To learn specific ways you can implement a strength-based approach, read my full blog post.
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