Posts Tagged ‘Anxiety’

Demystifying Eating Disorder Therapy

A therapist and client

CBT, CBT-E, DBT… Have you ever wondered what all those letters stand for and why they are so often talked about at The Emily Program and by other eating disorder professionals? If so, this is the post for you. Let’s dissect these terms, help you understand them, and explain why they are important to the work clients and clinicians do every day.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

“By correcting erroneous beliefs we can lower excessive reactions.” – Aaron Beck, M.D.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was developed by Dr. Aaron Beck in the 1960s. His work focused on how the conscious mind plays a role in how people interact with the world around them. Prior to his work, most therapeutic models focused on the unconscious mind—concepts like impulses, analyzing unconscious thoughts, conditioning, and “uncontrollable thoughts.” Dr. Beck changed mental health by introducing the belief that our thoughts are fundamental to how we interpret our experiences and consequently behave or respond. Dr. Beck and many other researchers have discovered that by identifying, monitoring, and effectively changing our thoughts, we can change or alter our maladaptive perceptions, leading to positive behavioral change.

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Practicing Mindfulness in Life and Eating

A woman practicing meditation

Most mornings before I get up, I make a point of listening to a guided mindfulness-meditation tape (1). Each time I repeatedly try to focus on my breath as instructed, following it as it flows in and out of my body. Sometimes I can keep my focus on my breathing for several breaths but not much longer; then my mind wanders off…. to the day ahead, the night before, somewhere, anywhere but where I am, right there, in that moment with my body and with my breath.

Why, you might ask, repeatedly go through something I find so difficult to do?

Because I have seen the positive differences it has made in my life. Being able to pay closer attention to whatever I am working on. Being better at really listening and hearing what others are saying. Being less automatic in my responses and being more fully present to what is happening as it is happening. I am not much more than a novice at this, but I have learned how mindfulness can be helpful in life in general and more specifically in the areas of food and eating.

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Coping with Triggers in Eating Disorder Recovery

A woman reading a book

To those in eating disorder recovery, it can often feel like triggers are all around. It seems they can’t be escaped and they can’t be ignored—they come, unasked and unannounced, in the sounds and sights of everyday life.

You overhear one in the mall dressing room: “You look great – have you lost weight?” You see another on your coworker’s plate, a conspicuously small serving of the company lunch. You find yet another on your favorite restaurant menu, calorie counts in bold black font on every page.

For many, triggers are even louder and more glaring during the holidays. They may come in the form of a family get-together, where a difficult relative sidles up alongside you, or a fear food is passed around the dinner table. They may come when Grandma prepares your favorite dish differently this year, or your schedule is thrown off by holiday travel. Triggers can turn the most “wonderful” time of the year into the most overwhelming.

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Meditation Techniques and Apps to Try

Rock stack

Meditation is the process of relaxing your body and training your mind to stay in the present moment. In short, mediation is the process of soothing your mind and body. While the most common association with meditation is someone sitting cross-legged on the floor and breathing with their eyes closed, meditation comes in a variety of forms.

Types of Meditation

Breath awareness

Breath awareness is the most common meditative practice. This practice encourages awareness of breath and mindfulness—the only guideline is to focus on your breath. To do this practice, start by getting comfortable. You may be sitting in a chair, sitting cross-legged, or lying down. The goal is to be in a position that you can stay in for at least five minutes with little discomfort. Once you are comfortable, close your eyes and began breathing in and out through your nose. Focus on your breath. You may notice your thoughts start to wander to to-do lists, stressors, or daily events. If this happens, simply redirect your attention back to your breath. If may be helpful to focus on your breath by repeating the words “in and out” as you breathe or to pay attention to how the air feels coming in and out of your body.

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The Power of Gratitude Lists

Gratitude Notebook

Gratitude is a state of thankfulness. The word stems from the Latin word gratus, meaning grateful and denoting a feeling of appreciation. While practicing gratitude has several benefits, it is often a forgotten practice in Western culture. With the fast-paced, stressful nature of modern life, we often push wellness practices to the side. Luckily, wellness practices like meditation, mindfulness, and gratitude are always available and relatively easy to start. One of The Emily Program’s favorite wellness activities is keeping a gratitude journal.

What is a gratitude journal?

A gratitude journal is simple—it is a place for appreciation. Typically, it is a notebook where you can write down and reflect on what you are grateful for. While there are many ways to structure your personal gratitude journal, we suggest starting somewhere that feels feasible for you.

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