And I said to my body, softly; “I want to be your friend.” It took a long breath and replied; “I have been waiting my whole life for this.”
I hope you are all having a lovely Friday.
To end this week, I decided to do a spotlight interview on a beautiful soul currently incorporating mindfulness in her journey towards E.D recovery. I was lucky enough to stumble across her Instagram account and immediately fell in love with her posts. Luckily for me, she readily agreed to a Q&A segment for Karmic Flow.
This intellectual young woman is 20 year old Sally. When you see her photo, you’ll immediately be taken to her bright eyes and irresistibly soft smile. She has a visible passion for Veganism (illustrated by her glorious Instagram food photos!) and animal rights. Her loving demeanor allows her to have compassion towards all living things. At the moment, she resides in England and is studying literature, psychology and sociology. Her ultimate goal is to move to London and be accepted into her dream university. She has a fondness for words and hopes to pursue studying English literature – her ultimate love. Her own personal mantra states; “Just let me write, and I’ll be okay.” Based upon her social media and blog articles, I have no doubt we will be picking up one of her best sellers in the future.
- How did you discover mindfulness?
Last summer I was lucky enough to take part in an Emotional Skills group for anxiety, held by two wonderful psychologists. It was mindfulness centered, and over the eight week course we experimented with so many practical mindfulness activities. Mindfulness of sound, taste, touch, smell, you name it! I met some wonderful people and acquired lots of helpful coping tools which I believe I’ll use forever. It was so much fun, and I like to say that it planted the seed of mindfulness in my life. Ever since, I’m always reading, researching and broadening my knowledge. It’s a learning process for sure.
- How has mindfulness helped you during your recovery process?
In terms of my eating disorder recovery, mindfulness has been wonderful. I’ve done a lot of reading on mindful eating, and it has enabled me to start viewing food with gratitude, rather than resentment and anxiety. Instead of switching off, or worse, allowing my brain to fill with negative thoughts during meal times, I take my time. I pay attention to the colours, the flavours, the textures. I realize how blessed I am to have an abundance of foods which will make me healthy and strong. Then, mindfulness helps me to be present and appreciative between meal times so that my eating disorder doesn’t dominate my day. This helps when you’re trying to rebuild your life, because suffering from an eating disorder can often feel like living in a bubble. I honestly think mindfulness should be more widely incorporated into eating disorder treatment, and I wish I knew about it years ago.
- What is your favorite type of mindfulness activity?
My favourite mindfulness activity is taking myself to a coffee shop, ordering myself a large creamy drink and sitting comfortably. I do nothing other than drink slowly, and take in my surroundings. I watch animated couples, contemplative business men and wise ladies hunched over crossword puzzles. All without judgement, and all without worrying about my dreaded to-do list. I love the bustling atmosphere and it always helps to brighten my mood. This is my way of practicing self-love, so I try to fit it in a couple of times per week.
- How often do you incorporate mindfulness into your daily life?
I incorporate mindfulness into my life all the time, and that’s the magic of it! I’ve learned that once you embrace it, mindfulness is a way of life. I’ve not perfected this yet, but I am incorporating more and more mindful moments into my day. For example, I try to be patient and observant on my commutes to college. Rather than overwhelming myself, I often single-task. I avoid eating meals at my desk, and I try to resist social media at certain times. I am currently experimenting with a bed time routine to help me sleep, incorporating some screen free mindfulness before switching out the lights. Practice, practice and more practice is the key here.
- Do you have a personal “mantra” you say to yourself when you’re feeling low?
I have a few. At the moment I love ‘sometimes you win, sometimes you learn’. Recovery, mindfulness and all things related are matters of trial and error. When I started viewing my low days as chances to learn and grow, my life truly changed for the better. Each day I try to reflect on what worked well for me, as well as what didn’t. I can’t recommend this mindset enough; berating yourself when things don’t go so well is counter-productive as it means completely missing an opportunity to better yourself.
- Favorite food to eat mindfully (if you practice this!)
I definitely practice this! This isn’t technically a food, but I think hot drinks are the best to enjoy in a mindful way, especially since it’s so chilly here in England. The sensation of the warm mug in my hands is so comforting. My favourites are hot vanilla soy milk, frothy lattes and sweet chai tea. I’m almost always sipping on a cup of something warm, but at least once a day I try to make this a mindful time for me.
- What would you want to say to those struggling with an eating disorder?
You’ve probably heard it a thousand times, but there is more to life than what your illness has you believe. YOU are more than your illness has you believe. You will grow, flourish and recreate yourself, and it will be so much fun. At first this will be far scarier than it is exciting, but with persistence you can definitely tip that balance. I’m not yet in a position where I can say I’m ‘recovered’, but as someone who has chipped the surface of that dark eating-disorder-cave, I can tell you that life is so wonderful. You’ve gotta be around to see it.
Onward – Always,
Marissa Ranahan – Owner of Karmic Flow.