I am very excited to be sharing a great article written by Linda Paulk Buchanan, Ph.D, CEDS-S on behalf of the Eating Disorders Information Network http://myedin.org Linda has touched on something that we all take for granted saying thank you to our bodies that have been with us for so many years. Here is our mindful theme this week on the Mezza.
Have you heard the phrases “body positivity” or “love your body?” Lofty goals in a society in which thinness is practically deified. As a psychologist who has worked for 30 years with people with eating disorders, I’ve seen what the “thinness ideal” can do to a person‘s self-image. However, it’s not just people with eating disorders who are affected. It’s most of us! Since no one has a perfect body (especially in their own eyes) it may be difficult to think about your body without experiencing ongoing pressure to improve it.
You already survived the awkward physical changes brought about by adolescence and many of you have walked through changes brought about by the miracle of birth. Now, if you’re in the middle or Mezza of life, your body’s asking you to accept yet another phase of changes brought about by middle-age and menopause. Ugh!
What can you do? Well, it’s true that there are things about your body that you can’t control but you can control how you react to it. If loving your body seems too high a goal, there is still hope.
The first step is to practice gratitude. When is the last time that you experienced gratitude toward your body? Every living body is doing things for the person living in it. Your body has been through a lot with you and it has earned a measure of gratitude. Begin by thinking about your face and all that it allows you to do. Look in the mirror and gently thank your eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. Then consider other parts of your body and thank them. Be as specific as you can. For instance, thank your arms for allowing you to hug someone and your hands for allowing you to hold hands with another person. Continue until you’ve thanked every part of your body that does something for you. Gratitude is the most life-giving of all emotions.
As you practice body gratitude, you are likely to find yourself increasing in compassion toward your body. So going forward talk to your body the way you would talk to a very good old friend. When you see this person, you feel glad to see them. You don’t expect them to be perfect or have a perfect body. What’s important to you is what you’ve been through together and how you’ve been there for each other. Try starting the morning with a friendly greeting to your body such as “It’s so good to see you today, thanks for being with me!”
For more information from Linda Paulk Buchanan:
Linda P. Buchanan, Ph.D, CEDS-S
CEDS Approved Supervisor
Senior Director of Clinical Services
Walden Behavioral Care
(Formerly Atlanta Center for Eating Disorders)
4536 Barclay Dr, Dunwoody, GA, 30338