Relaxing does not always come easy to everyone. Dr. Kim DiRé shares a technique called progressive relaxation that she uses to help create a state of relaxation and equilibrium for your nervous system.
Did you know your brain never stops thinking? It is true, however most people do not pay attention to their thoughts on a regular basis. With mindfulness, though, we learn to pay attention to our thoughts and our emotions as well as the way we interpret things.
What is your first memory have shame? Perhaps it is from childhood after being placed in your first time-out. Or maybe you remember it more clearly in your teenage years. Whatever it may be, shame is a feeling we all struggle with and it is essential that we learn about overcoming shame and the steps to take to recover from it.
Attempting to achieve perfection is often the major setup for failure and ultimately shame. But the truth is, nothing and nobody is perfect. Recovering from shame means breaking the cycle of perfectionism. As humans, we have to stop people pleasing and learn to become more vulnerable. Vulnerable in becoming authentic. Vulnerable in having the courage to be imperfect. When we can do this, we will have a greater sense of accepting ourselves and believing that we’re enough.
Overcoming shame is an important part of any recovery and the team at Healthy Futures is dedicated to helping you. Take the first step and contact us today.
Jeanne Phillips: Hi. My name is Jeanne Phillips. I work at Healthy Futures, and I want to talk to you about shame. We all struggle with shame whether we want to admit it or not. It’s an intricate piece in terms of recovery, and it’s just not talked about enough.
What is shame? It’s a birthplace of perfectionism, it’s sickness of the soul, and it’s a horrible feeling that we’re flawed and unworthy. I hear that over and over and over from my patients, “I don’t feel worthy, I don’t feel worthy, I don’t feel worthy.”
I ask the question, “When will you feel worthy?” Or, “What do you feel shame about?” Their answer is, typically, “I don’t know when I’m perfect.”
General George Patton said that death kills us one time. Fear and shame kills us over and over and over and over. Let me differentiate between shame and guilt. Shame says, “I’m bad.” Guilt says, “I did a bad thing.”
For example, Todd kicks a dog and Mom says, “Bad boy. You’re a bad boy for kicking Fido,” which is shaming, instead of saying, “Todd, that was a bad thing to do to Fido. We don’t kick the dog.” Do you see the difference there?
Shame shields us in a number of different ways. It does protect us. It tries to make us be more perfect. When we’re more perfect, we think we make less mistakes, but hence, we continue to make mistakes because even if were perfect, we would raise the ante because we can never meet our goal of being perfect.
Typically, with shame, when we’ll move away and shrink and disappear, be invisible, you can’t see me. The other is moving forward, people pleasing, “It’s my fault. It’s my fault. I’ll do anything you want. Just like me, please. Whatever you want, I’ll take care of it.” Or you move against it, coming out swinging and being combative, and then feel guilty about that, which triggers back the shame.
I ask people about their first experience with shame. Typically, it’s between the ages of three and five, but not always. It’s usually during the formative years.
It’s particularly true if you look at Erik Erikson’s eight stages of man, who I really rely on. If you look at that, you’ll see that he takes us through all these developmental stages that we must go through and be successful at in order to get to the next stage.
Oftentimes, when I work with my patients and they see something happened between the ages of three and five, they’re able to justify what happened and know that, “It wasn’t that I’m bad. I just wasn’t taught. I didn’t learn. Now, I know and we can sort of move forward.”
After childhood, no one has to make us feel ashamed because we do it to ourselves because that little voice is in our head. We have to acknowledge that it occurred when we were young from people who…I’m not blaming parents, or coaches, or religious people, or peers, or whatever, and it’s also how we perceived it to be.
Todd heard he was bad for kicking the dog. Therefore, Todd has shame about that. I also hear from my people that, “If people knew the real me, they wouldn’t like me,” which means, they are in touch with who they are.
How does one recover from shame and unworthiness? It’s by breaking the cycle of perfectionism, which is your major setup to fail. Remember, I talked about, “I have to be perfect, I’m going to do this perfect.” Even if you do it perfect, which you won’t, but you think you do it well enough, you’re going to raise the ante because you’re never going to be good enough.
We have to learn to break the cycle of perfectionism, to stop people pleasing, and it means becoming vulnerable. Now, vulnerable doesn’t mean weak. It means courage. It means to show up with no guarantees. It means becoming authentic, which means cultivating the courage to be imperfect and to set ourselves up to be vulnerable.
Courageous is exercising the compassion we all are made of strength and struggles, all of us. No more comparing, no more judges. We’re all made up with the same. It’s a nurturing connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe we’re enough.
Another question I’ll ask my patients, “When will you know you’re enough?” Oftentimes, the answer is, “When I feel worthy or when I’m perfect.” Goals you’re never ever going to be able to achieve. We have to learn to accept ourselves and love ourselves. It’s learning to love ourselves, accept ourselves, because until we do that, it’s hard to believe that someone else can love us unconditionally.
I leave you with this. I’m imperfect, I’m vulnerable, and sometimes, I’m afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I’m worthy of love and belonging. I hope you, too, will start the journey. Thank you.
For individuals and families struggling with eating disorders, the holidays can be a particularly difficult time of year. There are expectations, family members who say the wrong things, and celebrations that focus on a meal. These triggers can make for a stressful holiday time. The good news is, you can learn to avoid the triggers and make your holidays happy. Here are some eating disorder treatment pointers to help.
- Let go of perfectionistic ideas and behaviors. Free yourself from the shame of imperfection.
- Communicate honestly. Be proactive by letting others know what you need, so they don’t have to assume.
- Take time for yourself. Make your holiday time more than just the meal. Play a family game. Go for a walk.
- Delegate. Don’t do everything yourself!
- Listen to yourself. Pause and identify how you are really feeling.
- Be aware of the triggers.
- Validate and support. A comment like this works well: “I don’t know what you’re going through, but I want you to know, I care, and I’m here for you.”
- Don’t focus on food, weight, body, or body image. Diet talk after a holiday meal is a big trigger!
- Don’t ask how they are doing. Better is to greet them with “It’s so good to see you. I’m glad you could make it over.”
- Get support. The recovery process takes time. Educate yourself to help you cope.
Healthy Futures specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, but also offers other specialized counseling. Contact us today at (480) 451-8500.
Jeanne Phillips: Hello, my name is Jeanne Phillips. I’m a therapist and life coach as well as certified eating disorder specialist at Healthy Futures. On behalf of myself and my wonderful staff, I’m saying the holidays are here. Although it’s the most romanticized time of the year, it’s probably one of the most difficult times of the year for individuals with eating disorders and their families.
I would like to take a little bit of your time, and give you some pointers as to how to survive the holidays. For my patients out there who are struggling, I would say, “Let go of your perfectionistic ideas and behaviors.” That will only trigger your shame. Listen to your body, use your skills.
Let people know what you’re wanting. Be honest, be authentic in your communication. They can’t read your mind. I want you to know for sure that you’re going to be triggered by those people out there, who think they’re saying good things to you to help you get through this, but often times, you know what your triggers are. Use your skills, not to let that put you in a funk.
Take time for yourself, do things outside of just focusing on the meal. Before or after, play games with your family, go for a walk, watch a movie that’ll probably make you cry because that’s how Christmas movies always are, but that’s OK as well. Don’t focus on doing everything by yourself. Delegate, delegate, delegate.
I want you to think about this. Many of you out there feel like, “Oh, my gosh, I feel fat.” Fat’s not a feeling. What I would say to you, when that happens, I want you to think back and say, “No, I’m feeling fearful. I’m feeling anxious, and I’m feeling threatened.” I want you to breathe, and I want you to step back, and listen to your body.
For you folks out there who are supporting your loved ones, it’s really important that you be able to be aware of what their triggers are, not walk on eggshells, but at least be aware of what their triggers are.
This is a really hard one for individuals out there because they often times don’t understand the language of eating disorders and when a patient comes to them or a child or spouse, and talks about what they’re feeling, often times they can’t understand what that’s about because they’ve not experienced that.
I’d suggest to you, please, just validate and support. You can even say, “I don’t know what you’re going through, but I want you to know, I care, and I’m here for you.”
Family members, don’t focus on food, weight, body, or body image. Please don’t talk about how you’re going to go on a diet after the first of the year, very triggering. Besides diets don’t work, so why set yourself up as well.
It’s also really important when you address a patient or your loved one again that you ask them not how they’re doing, but rather, “It’s so good to see you. I’m glad you could make it over,” because saying, “How are you?” or “Oh, you’re looking great,” huge triggers, just a little beware there.
Lastly, what I would recommend is you find support for yourself because eating disorder recovery is a process. Your loved one didn’t get this way overnight and he or she is not going to get better overnight. Educate yourself, so you too can survive the recovery process. On behalf of myself and my dream team at Healthy Futures, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday.
Do we need a behavior attached to all of our distressful feelings? Ask yourself, how do you behave when you are feeling anxious? Some people snack, or restrict food, or fidget, or pick, or pace. We are all different and we all have a different way of behaving in the face of anxiety. Some of those behavioral responses are healthier than others. Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an eating disorder treatment involving techniques that may help when you’re feeling anxious.
If you struggle with unhealthy behaviors, try a different technique. Imagine you have an itch. Feeling that itch now? Now, don’t scratch it! Instead, pause and think about it. Observe and describe the itch. You may describe it as sharp, prickly, hot, pulsing and red. Soon enough, that feeling will dull, expand, cool and become blue. Do you still feel like you need to scratch? Probably not.
“Don’t scratch the itch” is a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) exercise you can practice next time you are anxious. Pause and describe what you are feeling. Soon, you should feel more at ease.
For more information on DBT skills, please contact Healthy Futures (480) 451-8500.
Kim Lipsman (Kim DiRe’): Hi, my name is Kim Lipsman. I’m a mental health therapist that uses Dialectical Behavioral Therapy with my clients. DBT is what we call it.
One of the skills for emotion regulation that we use in DBT is to observe and describe. It’s one of the most helpful things for lowering your anxiety level or lowering any kind of feelings that you have that feel distressful.
It also creates a pause that shows that we don’t have to have a feeling, and then a behavior attached to it. I call this skill “Don’t Scratch the Itch.” Anyway, now that I’m talking about itching, do you notice anywhere in your body that you have an itch? Don’t scratch it!
I’m going to use it to help you. Now that I’m talking about it, I’ve got one. It’s on my lower leg. Yes, I can feel it, and so I’m going to describe it. If you can, with an itch that you have ‑‑ don’t scratch it! You’ll be tempted to ‑‑ is just describe it.
It feels like to me ‑‑ I’m going to describe mine ‑‑ as if it was the tip of a pencil right on my lower leg and it’s starting to tingle. If I could give it a color, I would call it reddish. If I could describe it, it has a prickly pulsing sensation. As I’m noticing that I’m talking about it, it’s expanding out. On the top layer of my skin, it doesn’t go very deep.
Now, I would describe the color as being blue and cool, if I could describe it in a temperature, where before, it felt hot and red. Now that I’m describing it more to you, it’s really disappeared and I really don’t have the itch anymore to scratch. That’s just an example of what happens when we don’t behave to a feeling.
A lot of times, we don’t wait that long because a feeling can go away if we don’t behave to it. What can decrease the intensity of the feeling is just observing it, describing in color, and in temperature, and in sensation.
Why don’t you practice not scratching the itch and see if you can eliminate some of the behaviors that are not going to be very helpful for you? Enjoy practicing that.
It seems like so many of us are running through life these days. We’re busy getting from one place to another, juggling work, family and social commitments. We don’t slow down or stop, if at all, until our heads crash on the pillow. It’s stressful to keep up with. The good news is, finding ways to reduce stress might be simpler than you might think.
I want to encourage you to take a moment each day to listen to your body. Pause, take a deep breath and really listen. What is your body telling you? Do you feel tight? Do you feel the weight of stress on your shoulders? Do you feel rigid or stuck? Does it feel like you are almost holding your breath?
Sometimes a little physical movement or change is enough to release that stress in your body. What you need may be different from what someone else needs. So, really think about what your body needs for movement and exercise. Do you need to stretch, stand up or walk the dog? Do you need to go to the gym or go for a bike ride? Start with something small like a stretch and see how you feel.
Listening to your body and responding with movement, even just a simple stretch may be enough to reduce stress and change your mood for the day.
For more information on Dialectical Behavior Therapy or other stress reduction techniques, contact us at Healthy Futures today.
Jessica McCall: Hi. I’m Jessica. I’m part of the Healthy Futures team. I wanted to talk to you today about healthy movement. I provide the movement groups here at Healthy Futures. I love to do different kinds of movement, bring some new stuff to the groups.
I wanted to talk to you today about listening to your body. You may have heard that phrase before. I wanted to talk about that, in particular. Listening to your body, being mindful of your body.
Too often, we’re literally running through life. We just go from one thing to the other. We don’t stop until maybe at the end of the day, sometimes not even then.
Taking a moment to pause and take a deep breath, and listen to your body. I want you to do it right now. What’s your body telling you? Is it a little tight, a little stressed out? Does it need a little stretch, a little move? Do you need to stand up? Maybe.
I want you to listen to it throughout the day and be more mindful. When we listen to our body, it’s more about tuning in to what’s going on. Are there emotions present?
Are there stressors in our life that are creating different connections and different messages that our body’s trying to tell us? We’re not listening very well.
Sometimes, it’s about I need to actually physically move and get my body going. Sometimes, it’s about I need to change something. There’s a rigidity in our behaviors and in our movement sometimes.
If you notice, the more stressful times in life, we are holding still. We’re holding our breath literally. We’re maybe stuck. There’s that rigidity. Sometimes, just moving physically can help move that forward, too, emotionally.
I want you to think about that mind‑body connection of physical movement. I don’t mean just exercise. Thinking about your definition of exercise and movement. Is it going to the gym? Is it running with a buddy? Is it walking the dog? Is it going rock climbing? Is it something different?
Is that your movement? Do you need something different? Do you just need to do a stretch every day? That’s something I would recommend every day to help you listen to your body more. How can you listen to it if you aren’t checking in with it?
Starting at the top. Doing some head, neck, and shoulders, and then stretching, and then go moving all the way to your toes is going to allow you to tune into your body and it give an opportunity to tell you what it needs.
If I need to work more on this area, I’m going to do that. Who knows? Wow, it might change my mood. It might change my whole day. I encourage stretching just to check in with your body and allow you to listen to it more.
Then it’s going to be able to tell you what it needs. Then it’s just going to create that overall health, which is going to be amazing and feel good. Do something every day.
There’s a lot of different…Everyone’s telling you do 30 minutes. Do every day. Do something. There’s so much out there, and it’s all generalities. You need to listen to your body to know what’s right for you, because everyone’s different.
Start with some stretching. Start with tuning in and being mindful of your body. Then find out what do you want to do with it. Have some fun with it. Try something different. Listen to it. How did it like it? Awesome.
My challenge today and this week, listen to your body. Do something movement-wise and check in, and see how it goes for the day. Thank you so much. Have a wonderful day.
Emotions and behaviors go together. Feel fear, take flight. Feel angry, put up a fight. This works great to regulate our emotions when our emotions are justified. The cycle is complete and we come back to a balance. But, what do we do when we feel an emotion like fear, and there is no threat? What if our bodies don’t know how to let go of that fear and therefore become unregulated again? At those times, try to help balance emotional control by calling on the opposite behavior to flight.
So, instead of running away, maybe you stay put? Maybe you try to become more familiar with your surroundings? Or, maybe you watch a comedy and laugh really hard to force yourself into another emotion? Now, you have regulated your body again and have worked through the fear.
Next time you are stuck with an emotion that is not justified, pause and think of what the opposite behavior would be to that emotion. Then, act on that. That little shift in behavior should help your emotional control and you feel better.
For more information or tips on DBT skills, coping skills or emotional health, contact the Healthy Futures team today.
Dr. Kim (Lipsman) DiRé: Hi, my name is Kim Lipsman. Today, I’m going to talk to you about opposite emotion to action. What does that mean?
Well, we know that emotion and behavior are connected. When you’re feeling an emotion, we have a certain behavior that comes with it. For example, if you feel fearful, the action that usually goes with that is to run away. If we feel angry, the action to that, that’s connected, is to fight.
Well, sometimes that emotion is real justifiable. It really means we need to run away if a car’s coming towards us and we’re scared, or we need to really get in there and fight for ourselves and so we’re going debate or take action in order to advocate for ourselves.
Sometimes, the emotion is unjustifiable, and there really isn’t a pure threat that we can distinguish. When that happens, we want to make sure that we move to an action that’s going to be helpful for us. If we have an unjustifiable fear or emotion, then we want to move to a different behavior. If you’re feeling fearful — you’ve checked it out, there’s nothing scary around — now we want to work with that in opposite action.
Well, what’s the difference between running away, what’s the opposite of that? Ahh, staying put and maybe orienting to our surroundings, or turning on a comedy and laughing really hard, or watching a thriller movie that scares us into a different feeling or emotion.
Once we’re able to use opposite behavior to shift through an emotion that we’re feeling, then we’re able to regulate our emotions in a way that’s going to be really helpful for us.
Next time you feel something and you check out to see that it’s really not justifiable, but we want to shift it, try doing an opposite behavior and see what happens.
There is a skill you can use when you are feeling distressed, extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain. The next time you feel in a highly emotional state, use TIPPs as a way of managing stress, to change your physiology to feel more at ease.
TIPPs is an acronym for Temperature, Intense Exercise, Pace your Breathing and Progressive Relaxation.
- Temperature. Physically change your temperature by holding a cold compress on your forehead.
- Intense Exercise. You don’t need to do too much. A run down the street and back or 15 strong jumping jacks is enough.
- Pace your breathing. Slow down your breathing. Inhale on four counts, hold four counts and exhale eight counts.
- Progressive Relaxation. Progressively relax all your muscles starting at your toes and moving up.
It only takes a few minutes to use TIPPs and change your physiology. But, the benefit of feeling better and emotionally less intense can last throughout your day. Give TIPPs a try.
Dr. Kim DiRé: Hi, my name is Dr. Kim DiRé. I’m going to teach you a distress tolerance skill called TIPP. It’s an acronym; Temperature, Intense exercise, Pace your breathing, and Progressive relaxation.
The first part of this takes place when you’re in high emotional arousal, or you have that intense emotional state. We want to change your intense emotional state by shifting your physiology.
The T out of TIPP stands for Temperature. We’re going to try and change your temperature by putting a cold compress on your face or splashing your face with cold water. We want to be bent over, and we want to do it right here on the forehead.
The I in TIPP stands for Intense exercise. You don’t want to do too much, but maybe 15 jumping jacks or you run down the block and back. That will shift your physiology.
The first P in TIPP is Pacing your breathing, slowing it down. You want to do a mental count of four in slowly, four hold, and eight out, and then do it again. Four, four hold, and eight out in a slow and steady stream on your exhalation, through a dropped jaw and loosened tongue. Push the air all the way out, so the next inhalation has a place to go.
The last P in TIPP, T-I-P-P, is Progressive relaxation, relaxing your muscles slowly, starting at your toes, and moving up. I do have a progressive relaxation skill video that you can find on kimdire.com, if that helps you. There are other ones as well, including lying in bed. Start thinking about your toes, and then scanning up through the rest of your body, until you change your physiology by relaxing your muscles.
Next time you find yourself in a high emotional state, or high emotional arousal, and you use those four skills, you’ll find that you’ll change your physiology and start feeling better, emotionally less intense. Then you can go on with your day.
A good way to bring balance and peace to your life is to do daily mindfulness exercises. If you are not familiar with this, take a look at a three-step summary of the mindfulness exercises that can change your life.
The first part of the exercise involves noticing your breathing. Notice yourself coming back to it again and again. And, rest your mind on your breath. Feel your breath flow through your nose, expand your lungs, hold it, and let it flow back through the nose.
Second, as you rest your mind on your breath, use your imagination. Imagine yourself breathing in pure relaxation as your breath comes into the body and into the lungs. Let that relaxation go into your heart and spread to every cell in your body. Let relaxation illuminate your whole being and allow yourself to be more mindful and relaxed with every breath.
Third, gradually move that awareness from within back into the room and your surroundings. Listen to the sounds. Smell the aromas. Notice the taste in your mouth. And feel the temperature and pressure points of your body on the chair, sofa or bedding. Notice where you are in relation to your surroundings.
Practicing mindfulness exercises every day is a simple way to change your life. It allows you to release stresses, pain or illness from your mind and body, and feel more relaxed. Give it a try.
Dr. Kim DiRé: Hi. My name is Dr. Kim DiRe. I’m going to take you through a mindfulness exercise so you can practice and have this for use at home.
What I’d like you to do is get into a nice, comfortable place either sitting, ideally if you’re laying down. If you’re sitting, have that imaginary string that goes from the ceiling all the way down through the spine so you have this nice, gentle support.
If you can use your attention that your backbone is the center of your being and whatever you’re sitting on to allow the backbone, in your chair, your sofa, or your bed to support you. A lot of times we manage way too much and we don’t have to. You can use those two tools in order to let down and let go.
Now what I’d like you to do is just notice the breath, how it flows in, expands the lungs and flows out. You can self‑focus or shut your eyes as I continue. Your mind will wander. Go ahead and notice the breath come back to it again and again.
What we’re doing is we’re resting our mind on the breath. I’d like you to be really curious, curious about how the breath flows in through your nose, expands the lungs, and comes back out through the nose.
As you do that, your mind will wander because you’re human. You can’t get this wrong, but notice when it wanders and rest your mind on the breath. You could say to yourself, “I’m now breathing in, I’m gently holding, I’m now breathing out,” as a way to stay mindful of the breath.”
Some people count four in, four hold, and four out. Just notice and do that, and it will come back in.
Dr. Kim DiRé: Nice. As you rest your mind on the breath what I’d like you to do is use your imagination and imagine that you’re breathing in pure relaxation as it comes in through the body, into the lungs.
That a pure relaxation goes over to the heart, and then the heart and blood take it all the way down to touch every cell, every pore, every system, and every organ of your body so that the relaxation illuminates your whole being.
Then, there’s an exchange of carbon dioxide that using your imagination I’d like you to release any stressors, any pain, any illness, any judgment. As that relieves and goes into the bloodstream and comes back up into the heart, exchanges over into the lungs.
As you release your breath, you’re breathing out all the stress of the morning, the week, and the month. You can now say to yourself, “I’m breathing in pure relaxation, allowing it to touch every cell in my body. I’m breathing out all the stress of the morning, the week, and the month.”
With each inhalation and each exhalation, you’re becoming more and more relaxed, more and more mindful of this life giving breath. One that you don’t need to think about, just do and be aware.
Nice. Good job. As you do that, just notice, become aware, allow the tools to support you, your backbone and the chair, sofa or bedding that you’re lying on. When your mind wanders, that’s the mindfulness practice, just notice.
It might be two minutes, it may be two seconds when it wanders away. When it does, come back to the breath and the steady flow of it coming in, expanding the lungs and coming out.
We’re going to tap back into the parasympathetic nervous system a little bit more by dropping our jaw and loosening our tongue so as you breathe in that pure relaxation, allow it to expand in you body and illuminate it.
As you breathe out, breathe out through the dropped jaw and loosened tongue, releasing the breath, releasing a slow and steady stream beginning, middle, and end, and releasing it all the way so the next inhalation has a place to go.
I’m now breathing in pure relaxation, allowing it to touch every cell and illuminate my body through the dropped jaw and loosened tongue I’m releasing all the stress of the morning, the week, and the month.
Go ahead and practice that and then I’ll come back in.
Dr. Kim DiRé: Nice. Now we’ll bring awareness back into the room that you’re in or the place that you’re in. First, by listening to the sounds inside the room or outside the room or if you’re outside, around you. Just listen.
Notice the aroma that comes through your nose even if there is none. None is an aroma. Notice the taste in your mouth, even if there is none. None is a taste. Notice whatever’s at your fingertips even if it’s your other hand. Notice the texture, the temperature, the quality of the touch, and notice the pressure points of your body on the chair, sofa, or bedding that you’re lying on.
Follow that breath in, expansion and out. Nice. And again, expansion and out. With this next exhalation, go ahead and flutter open, refocus your eyes into the area that you’re in, whether it’s a room or outside.
What I’d like you to do, I’d like you to turn your chin and neck so we we can engage that brain stem. I want you to notice where you are in relationship to the four corners of the room or the things around you. I’m noticing where I am in relationship to the trees and the sounds around me, the buildings.
I want you to turn your chin and neck up, look at the ceiling. In my case, the sky. Notice where you are in relationship to the ceiling or the sky. Turning your chin and neck down at the floor, the ground below you, looking and being real curious with new kid eyes as if you’ve never been here before.
If you have a doorway, turn your chin and neck and look at the doorway. That’s your exit out. That’s a calming factor for you. Nice.
If you’re with other people, you can turn your chin and neck and notice where you are in relationship to each person in the room or the surroundings. That’s your mindfulness exercise.
If you do that once every day, just something simple like that, you’ll notice things start to change for you — your brain will, your being will, how you look at life. Also, it’s nice to relax the body, as well.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a great way to help clients cope with different issues. And, at its core is mindfulness, staying present. This is where we can stay focused and control our thoughts and feelings.
When our thoughts go to the future, we often experience greater feelings of anxiety. We play out the what ifs and sometimes imagine the worst. Other times, our thoughts may go to the past to feelings of regret, shame or guilt. Once this type of thinking begins, it’s hard to stop and regain control. So, staying present and in control is where we want to be.
The best way to stay present is by being mindful of our breathing and practicing that in a very specific way. Follow these steps and give it a try.
- Elongate your torso and sit up nice and tall.
- Take the curve out of your spine by tucking your tailbone under.
- Relax your jaw and loosen your tongue.
- On the count of four, breathe in through your nose, expanding the lower abdominal diaphragm.
- Hold four counts.
- Then, gently and steadily exhale all your breath through your mouth for four counts.
The more you practice this mindfulness breathing exercise, the better your body will feel.
Kim R DiRe’ Hello, my name is Kim Lipsman. I’m a mental health therapist that uses Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT, to help clients with different issues.
The thing about DBT is that it’s a wonderful skill set for people. The basis, or foundation, that DBT lands on is mindfulness. Mindfulness, in simple terms, is staying present on purpose, staying in the now.
It sounds like such a simple concept, and yet it is one of the hardest things to do. What’s easy for us to do is we move too far in the future which causes a lot of anxiety. Sometimes, just an hour in the future can accelerate that anxiety.
When we move into the past, sometimes shame and guilt comes up. What we want to do is lessen those activating feelings by staying present.
One of the simplest ways to do that is to breathe. If you’ll just do that with me right now, we can practice for one moment in time, mindfulness ‑‑ staying present on purpose. If you’re sitting in a chair watching this, just sit up nice and tall. Take the curve out of your spine by tucking your tailbone under.
Imagine that there’s a string that goes from the ceiling all the way down through your spine, so you have this nice, gentle support without any arches in your back. That way we have this elongated torso, so that the lungs can expand, give us a full range of breath.
Now if you’re standing, it’s easier to do. Then laying down is just the ideal place to do this breathing, Whatever is going to fit for this moment for you. If you can just unlock that jaw and loosen your tongue, we’re going to breathe in through our nose, and we’re going to exhale out through our mouth.
On the count of four, please breathe in through your nose, expanding that lower abdominal diaphragm, a gentle hold, and then release out through your mouth in a gentle, steady stream, your breath.
Make sure all the breath comes out so the next inhalation has a place to go. Inhaling in, two, three, four, a gentle hold, two, three, four, and exhalation, two, three, four. One more time, OK? Inhale in, a gentle expansion of that lower diaphragm, and then exhale out through our loosened jaw, loosened tongue, breath, exhaling all the way out.
I just want you to notice, notice what that was. Notice how your body feels, staying present on purpose. What’s really great with mindfulness, the more you practice, the better you get at it, the better you’ll feel. So, enjoy.
Are there some annoying people in your life that just get under your skin? You get stuck talking to them and leave feeling frustrated or even angry? They are people you’d just rather not talk to, but can’t avoid.
Well rather than let them get the best of you, use some coping skills to deal with them. The first thing you can do is gently avoid them. This is to say, keep the conversation to things that are more superficial like the weather. Second, try to avoid them by engaging other people in conversation. And third, try not to take what they do personally. For example, try to justify their annoying behavior or habits as their natural behavior and not something directed at you personally.
Whether at work, in the neighborhood, or within your extended family, there are likely to be people you find annoying. Next time you encounter these annoying people them, practice these new coping skills. When you manage your reactions in these situations, you’ll find yourself coming away happier and keeping your emotions in balance.
Sheri Robenstine: Hi. My name is Sheri. I am one of the therapists here at Healthy Futures, and just wanted to discuss today a couple of strategies that anyone can use when you have to be around people that you don’t necessarily choose to be around, but you don’t have a choice of another place to be, whether that be at work, whether that be at a family reunion, whether that be anywhere where there’s a person that you would choose not to be around.
One of the strategies that you can use is to gently avoid that person. When I say gently avoid, I mean that you would have conversation with that person that you would have if you had just met them. You might talk about the weather. You might talk about the events that you’re at. You might comment on something that is happening in news today, a current event, but you wouldn’t discuss anything more than that. It would be a very basic conversation that you would have with that person.
If you can avoid them, great. Have conversations with other people that you truly enjoy having a conversation with. Be involved in activities that you truly enjoy. That person can be there, but you don’t necessarily have to be involved with that person.
Another thing that you can do that works well with people that you don’t necessarily get along with is by not taking anything that they do personally. When I say that, I mean that don’t assume that they are doing things to frustrate you, to annoy you, to upset you. Just assume that they are doing things because this is their natural behavior. It’s some habit that they have that might be annoying, but it’s not necessarily directed at you.
That person just becomes another person that you encounter, and they don’t necessarily have to be someone that’s frustrating to you or someone that is very angering to you. They just happen to be another person that you might have to encounter on a daily basis.
If you are a client of Healthy Futures, feel free to ask for any sort of advice, maybe some role-playing techniques or how to handle a specific situation. If not, good luck with all of those situations where you might have to encounter people that you don’t always have fun with.
Are your emotions controlling you? Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a highly effective research-based treatment designed by Dr. Marsha Linehan to help those struggling with eating disorders, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and trauma to cope with life’s stresses. It is very effective for helping people become more flexible, and fluid in their thoughts, behavior, emotions, and relationships.
DBT training will help you look at things differently in your own life. Instead of seeing things as right or wrong or in extreme opposite terms, you’ll become more flexible. For example, you could both want to change and actively resist changing at the same time. DBT skills will help you will learn to manage and appreciate opposites without going to the extremes.
Healthy Futures, in Scottsdale Arizona has DBT skills training classes that are taught in four to five comprehensive modules.
- core mindfulness
- emotion regulation
- distress tolerance
- interpersonal effectiveness
- middle path skills.
And, these are offered as an active rotation so you can join a class at any time without missing any of the modules.
Within the training of DBT skills, you will learn various assumptions, which are beliefs that we abide by to help us maintain that flexible thinking.
- People are doing the best they can.
- People want to improve.
- People need to do better, try harder, and be more motivated to change.
- People may not have caused all their own problems, but they must solve them anyway. New behavior has to be learned in all relevant contexts.
- All behaviors, actions, thoughts, and emotions are caused.
- Changing the causes of behavior work much better than judging and blaming.
The DBT instructors at Healthy Futures would be happy to teach you more about how DBT skills training and how it might work for you.
Mia Elwood: Hello, I’m Mia Elwood, a licensed clinical social worker and Director here at Healthy Futures. I’m here with co-pilot, Gus. Our purpose today is to learn a bit about DBT, which stands for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. If you were to take a DBT skills training class, what might that entail?
The first thing to know is a bit about DBT. DBT is a research-based treatment helping individuals and their families become more effective, flexible, and fluid in their thoughts, behavior, emotions, and relationships.
It was developed more than 20 years ago by Dr. Marsha Linehan, originally to help those suffering with borderline personality disorder and can also be used to help with other maladaptive coping.
Since then, much research has proven this treatment effective with many populations, including those struggling with eating disorders, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and trauma.
A second thing to know is what the word “dialectical” means. It’s a way to understand and appreciate opposites, thus allowing you to look at things differently in your own life. The easiest way I know to explain is just say it means both/and versus either/or. Also, and versus but.
If you look at these words, it helps us manage apparent opposites without going extreme, therefore leaving out flexibility. You can both want to change and actively resist changing at the same time. You can both love something and hate it at the same time, like a parent or a job, for example. You will understand this more throughout your time in DBT.
One part of a standard DBT treatment is the skills training class we offer here at Healthy Futures. We have skills training classes for teens, adults, and their family members. I am one of the DBT instructors here, along with several other awesome teachers, like Sheri, Jessica, and Dr. Kim.
What might your skills training experience be like? I’m here to answer that question for you in the hopes of you arriving at your first class with a basic knowledge of how this all works. This is what you need to know.
Skills training is taught in four to five modules or chapters. They are core mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness, middle path skills.
We have an open entry to group, meaning you will jump in wherever the class is at the time. Expect to be a bit disoriented your first one to two groups as you catch on and catch up to where the group is at. It takes roughly 20 weeks to complete all the modules. No matter where you start, you will end after having had all the modules, as it is in active rotation during this 20 weeks. Each module takes about a month, give or take.
Let’s take a look at each module and get a general idea of what it can help you with.
Core mindfulness skills helps to keep you in the present moment and avoid judgment of reality. This helps reduce anxiety, improve relationships, improves focus, awareness, and decreases confusion about self, and helps your identity. This is a foundational skill of DBT, and it will help you with all the other modules.
Emotion regulation skills are a wonderful skillset for learning how to feel emotions more effectively. It will help you reduce mood dependent behavior and feel more in charge of your emotions.
Distress tolerance skills helps you tolerate the pain you will experience in life, rather than trying to change things or avoid the pain. These skills will help you change your current impulsive or avoiding coping skills, which can have negative consequences.
Lastly, interpersonal effectiveness skills and walking the middle path skills help to improve relationships by improving extreme thinking, feeling, and behaving in ways that can push people away. It arms family members with more effective ways to interact with one another. It helps with setting boundaries and asking for the things you need.
Another thing to understand is DBT’s biosocial theory of emotion dysregulation. Emotional sensitivity or vulnerability is biological. It is simply how people are born. They are more sensitive to emotional stimuli. They experience emotions much more often than others. They experience emotions much more intensely, and it takes them longer to return to baseline.
Impulsivity also can have a biological basis. Regulating behavior is harder for some than others. Then, we look at how this emotional vulnerability interacts with the environment. An invalidating social environment can make it very hard to regulate emotions.
What’s an invalidating environment? An invalidating environment doesn’t seem to understand your emotions. Instead, this type of environment tells you your emotions are inappropriate or wrong.
This tends to lead to self-invalidation as if you seem to bet the odd one out. Then people tend to try to adapt to their environment. You just might be the tulip in the rose garden, and you might try to do your best to be a rose and make being a tulip wrong.
Another important point is to understand that people who invalidate are often doing the best they can. They haven’t learned anything different. It was the way they grew up. Most people don’t have a working, functional understanding of emotions or how they work.
It’s these transactions between person and environment over time that tends to lead to the symptoms you might be struggling with and the conflict in your environment.
Now, we’re going to learn the DBT assumptions. These are ways of believing, here called assumptions as they cannot be proved, but we agree to abide by them anyway.
Number one, people are doing the best they can. Number two, people want to improve. Number three, people need to do better, try harder, and be more motivated to change.
Number four, people may not have caused all their own problems, but they have to solve them anyway. Number five, new behavior has to be learned in all relevant contexts. You need to practice these skills in the context they are needed, not just in the classroom.
Number six, all behaviors, actions, thoughts, and emotions are caused. We often don’t know the causes but, number seven, figure it out. Changing the causes of behavior work much better than judging and blaming.
Finally, practically speaking, you show up for a DBT skills class. What might you expect? Here’s how it usually goes. First, some type of warm up exercise or mindfulness activity invites us to engage in the here and now and gets us ready for learning.
Second, homework review of last week’s lesson will occur. You will be expected to share how you practiced the skills taught the previous week. You’ll be supported in acquiring these new skills by other peers and by your instructor. Any questions about struggling with applying these skills are welcomed, as this is how you learn. Next, the week’s skill will be taught followed by assigning homework so you can go home and practice.
Thanks for learning a bit about how DBT skills training might work for you. We’ll see you in class!
Do you think about gratitude? Gratitude is a powerful emotion for the appreciation of what one has. For some, it may be a healthy baby, a warm, cozy bed, or a good job. We can make lists of the things we are grateful for in our lives. But, why is gratitude so important?
Gratitude can change how you feel. It has an energy that vibrates within you and lifts you up. Inside your body, this energy can take you from feeling worried or bad about something to feeling more optimistic and good. It actually has the power to change the energy in your body.
The next time you feel down, stuck in your life or scared, hold out your hands. Imagine holding something in them for which you are grateful. Then really concentrate on feeling gratitude for it. You’ll soon feel that positive energy vibrate in your body and shift your feelings toward something more positive.
Choose to think about gratitude every day, even when things are difficult. With this daily practice, you’ll soon see your life’s challenges smaller and see more optimism. Give it a try, you’ll be grateful that you did.
Dr. Kim DiRé: Hi, my name is Kim DiRé, and I’m a psychotherapist. One thing that I notice when people get stuck and they’re not able to move, whether they’re feeling good about themselves or they feel stuck in their life goals, is we use gratitude to release that stuck.
People often understand that they do it like, “OK, let’s count our gratitude so make a gratitude list,” but they often don’t know what happens or what the change is that happens for them. Gratitude is an emotion that actually has a vibrational energy that starts to vibrate or lift things.
One of the tools that I use is if you just hold out something that you’re grateful for in your hands and really concentrate or use a meditation or mindfulness with it, perhaps it’s a child that you adore or maybe it’s something you’re grateful for, like the fact that you have a nice, cozy bed to sleep in, is if you just sit and have gratitude for it, you’ll find a vibrational energy that happens. If you take that as a tool or a meditation and bring that gratitude then into your face, you can bring that gratitude in to shift some of the physiology that happens for you when you are down or when you feel stuck or when you feel scared.
Some of those are the things that happen because emotions have an energy. Gratitude is one that is uplifting and one that can change some of the energies that aren’t so helpful or challenging. Next time you feel stuck or down, use gratitude in a way that’s going to be really helpful for you to move forward and feel really hopeful. Thank you.
Many people ask themselves, “Why me? Why did this happen? Why am I like this?” But, when we answer these questions, we tap into our shame and guilt. This leads to negative thinking that we are a terrible person.
Instead, when you ask why, ask a different question. Ask, “How can I?” Turn it into a motivational question that can lead to finding a solution. “How can I find a solution to this problem? How can I learn from this?” This will take the blame off you and give you some control in solving your problem with a positive solution.
The questions you ask yourself can change your thinking and change your life to a more positive future. Dr. Kim DiRé, a Psychotherapist from Healthy Futures in Scottsdale explains this in the following video. Contact Healthy Futures in Scottsdale if you would like to change your future to something more positive and visit our website at https://healthyfuturesaz.com/index.html
Dr. Kim DiRé: Hello. My name is Dr. Kim DiRé. Oftentimes, patients come into my office and they ask the question why? “Why me? Why did this happen? Why am I like this?”
I’m going to offer to you a new way to be when you hear why or when you ask why. Oftentimes, why, we answer it like, “I’m awful.” We tap into our shame and guilt by answering why. “I’m a terrible person because I did this awful thing in my past.”
I offer that when you ask why, that’s a prompt to a cue to asking a question of, “How can I? How can I become more motivational, become a way to a solution?” Instead of why me, or how can I move to this difficult situation, or how can I learn from this. Use the how can I to find a solution that’s more meaningful. It takes the blame off of you.
The next time you ask the question why, try asking, how can I, and see how fast you come up with a positive solution. Thank you.
How’s it going to turn out? So many of us catastrophize our futures. We think it’s going to turn out terrible and let our minds go to the negative. But, that’s our imagination talking.
Just like we imagine a negative outcome, we can imagine a positive outcome. Let your imagination work in your favor. Start imagining what it would be like if you had a best-case scenario or outcome. It’s a skill you can develop that can lead you to a positive future. Give it a try.
In the following video, Dr. Kim DiRé, a Psychotherapist from Healthy Futures elaborates on the what if game and its consequences. For more information about achieving a positive future, contact us at Healthy Futures and visit our website at https://healthyfuturesaz.com/mental-health-care/
Dr. DiRé: Hi, my name is Dr. Kim DiRé, and today I want to talk to you about catastrophizing. We all do it. We think in the future in our imagination and we think, “Oh, it’s gonna turn out terrible!” Or we think about what ifs and we think of what ifs to the negative. But, if we’re going to do that, it’s all done in imagination.
Guess what? We can do it in imagination to our favor. So, when you start doing the what ifs and you notice that you plan out the future in your imagination that’s going to go awry, you can change that. You can use your imagination to say, “What if,” and make it the best scenario and the best outcome.
Or, I’ll stay out of the future, but I just want you to use your imagination in the positive to stop catastrophizing in imagination in the future. Thank you.
Traumatic experiences are not just for war heroes. Trauma can be experienced in many ways. It can come from specific events or a series of events. And, it can present from pre-verbal times or events from which we have no memory. From a somatic experiencing perspective, trauma happens when the natural healing abilities of our nervous system are disrupted.
The somatic experiencing therapy perspective treats trauma differently from what you may think of with psychotherapy. The focus is not on analyzing or thinking, but on physiology. The goal is to release the energy from the body that has been blocked from the traumatic experience. When the physiology is finally broken down, the body is able to complete its natural self protective response to the trauma. And, you begin to feel more and more present and balance in your life.
Somatic experiencing therapy can be the answer for you in healing from trauma. At Healthy Futures, our therapists complete three years of extensive training to provide this therapy. The following video features two of our therapists who explain trauma and somatic experiencing therapy. You can also learn more from our website at https://healthyfuturesaz.com/.
Mia Elwood: Hi. I’m Mia Elwood, clinical social worker with Healthy Futures.
Dr. Kim DiRé: My name is Kim DiRé. I’m a psychotherapist, and both Mia and I are Somatic Experiencing practitioners.
Mia: Today, we’re going to be talking about what trauma is, from an SE or a Somatic Experiencing perspective. A lot of people think trauma is an act of war, or some really horrific event that happens. From an SE perspective, we really look at it a little bit more globally as anything that really disrupts our natural healing abilities of our nervous system.
They can be events, or they can be a succession of events, or they can be something that we don’t really even know about, like something pre-verbal, before we could talk, things like birth, things like accidents, things like surgeries, things like bullying over a long period of time.
It’s really important that we look at anything that hurts or disrupts our nervous system, as something that we can heal from.
Dr. DiRé: A lot of people ask me what it’s like to be in a session, and they want to know what that’s going to be for them before they get into the session.
Somatic Experiencing or SE sessions really look a little bit different than psychotherapy, in the fact that we’re not doing so much analysis or a thought process up here. We’re including the body in that blocked energy place, where we can get it to flow a little bit easier.
Many times, it looks pretty creative, but the part would be that the practitioner or I would look at the physiology of the person and see where they are activated in the session. Maybe recalling an event, or feeling an event that they have no memory of or no voice for, and working through that by breaking up the physiology in a place where they can complete self-protective responses.
Also in a place where they can start becoming aware and becoming more present with that activation, or the stimulus that happens with the blocked energy.
In session we are then releasing that, so that the person can become more and more present, and able to then carry on in a flow with a balance of life.
Mia: If you’re interested in more information on SE and these resources, you can attend to the description on this video. Thanks.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy, also known as DBT, helps clients gain skills they can use in stressful moments. Often times we go let our minds play the “what if” game and it takes us to a negative place. “What if I don’t get the job?” And the stressful moment becomes worse just imagining the bad that would come of that.
With DBT training, you can use imagination to help improve the moment. Imagination is a fascinating thing that we all use. We take something in our mind and create a pictorial story. If you can capture the skill of imagination, you can use it to send positive messages and better sensations to your body.
The next time you play the “what if” game, use imagination to imagine a positive outcome. See yourself thinking about the job, interviewing for the job and getting the job. The sensations you send your body will actually help you get that job, and you’ll feel less stressed.
Using imagination is one of the life skills you can learn with DBT training. In the following video, Dr. Kim DiRe, a Psychotherapist from Healthy Futures explains more. If you would like to find a skills for life class based on Dialectical Behavior Therapy, contact us and visit our website at https://healthyfuturesaz.com/
Dr. Kim DiRe: Hi. My name is Kim DiRe’ and I’m a psychotherapist. I use Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, to help clients work with skills that they can use in stressful moments, or times when they need to regulate.
One of the skills is to improve the moment. One of the improve the moment skills is to use imagination. Imagination’s a fascinating thing because we all use it. We take something in our mind and we create a story with it that doesn’t have a sight in order to tell the story, but something that gives us a picture in our mind. Children use it all the time. If you can capture the skill of imagination, you can use it to your benefit to set up great things that are going to be inspirational and send better sensations to your body.
Oftentimes, we use imagination to do the what ifs and the negative, but here’s how we could use it to what ifs in the positive and create something that’s going to be helpful. Let’s say, for example, you’re applying for a job. If you use your imagination to think about the job – sitting in that job, getting the job, getting the call from the job, that you’ve got it – then how it feels to have this job and be successful, that’s going to inspire you and give you sensations that will help you in the interview, and even the motivation to fill out the application in the first place.
Oftentimes, we use the motivation or imagination to the negative, where we’re going, “What if I don’t get the job?” If you’re going to do that what if, do it to the positive, because in our imagination we can change all kinds of things. Make sure you change it to your favor, and try imagination for the next time you want to start to feel better, using sensations from your imagination, to give a reality to something that’s going to be successful or beneficial for you.
When you think of Somatic Experiencing Therapy, do you think of some kind of voodoo therapy? Think you will be touched the whole time? Well, those are some of the myths about Somatic Experiencing.
It is really a therapy much like psychotherapy, but looks at one’s physiology to promote healing. The therapy is based on Peter Levine’s observations of animals in the wild. Despite the stresses in the wild kingdom and fighting for survival, animals are not traumatized. The animals in the wild are able to complete self-protective responses in order to release blocked energy. So, the animals can feel safe again.
In Somatic Experiencing Therapy, we look at one’s physiology when our clients have had traumatic experiences, and we work to release the blocked energy that keeps them in a “freeze” state. Once the energy is released, the cycle can be completed and the natural fight-flight responses can return so you feel safe again.
In the following video, Dr. Kim DiRe and Mia Elwood of Healthy Futures give an introduction about Somatic Experiencing Therapy. Take a look now. And, if you would like to find more information or resources about Somatic Experiencing Therapy, visit our website at https://healthyfuturesaz.com/.
Dr. Kim DiRe: Hi. My name is Kim DiRe, and I’m a psychotherapist.
Mia Elwood: I am Mia Elwood. We are with Healthy Futures, and we are both Somatic Experiencing Practitioners. Today we’re going to be talking about what Somatic Experiencing is.
Dr. DiRe: Somatic Experience is a therapy that was developed by Dr. Peter Levine. He watched animals in the wild and noticed how they weren’t traumatized. So he applied that into therapy sessions, where a person can complete self-protective responses in order to release blocked energy. Blocked energy from different kinds of traumas.
Psychotherapists can utilize this therapy and help people, so that they’re not stuck in this place called freeze. Their fight-flight responses can naturally then move through when they need to feel safe, and create safety.
Mia: I’m going to share a little bit about what Somatic Experiencing is not. Somatic Experiencing is not all about the body. It’s about the body’s physiology. We’re looking at what you’re saying, what you’re doing. Through noticing those things we can notice where you’re at in your physiology, so we can help those blockages move through.
Somatic Experiencing is not voodoo, it’s not something made up. It’s based on science. Those are some of the myths, that people think it’s all about the body, that you’re going to be touched the whole time. It’s very similar to basic psychotherapy. We just add the ideas of looking at healing through the physiology, as a way to heal.
If you would like more information and more resources about Somatic Experiencing, we’ve complied a resource list for you. You can click the description in this video and go right to that.
Four questions is a tool to rebalancing your day. Start asking yourself every day the following questions: Have I eaten in the last three to four hours? Am I eating because I am physically hungry? Am I eating because I am emotionally hungry? Am I eating because I am bored? You may not always know the answer to these questions. But, soon you will find them, and you’ll be rebalancing your day, blood sugar and feeling good again.
In the following video, Dr. Kim DiRé of Healthy Futures in Scottsdale, Arizona, explains why these questions are important and how they can help you balance your eating. If you are interested in finding more balance in your life, visit the Healthy Futures website to learn more.
Hi, name is Dr. Kim DiRé and I’m going to help you with something. I’m going to help you rebalance your day, or give you a tool to rebalance your day, for eating and your blood sugar level. It’s called “Four Questions.”
I want you ask it throughout the day today and see how you do and then utilize these tools, or these four questions, to help you in balancing your eating.
The first question is, “Have I eaten in the last three‑and‑a‑half to four hours?” If the answer is no, then you need to eat.
The second question is, “Am I eating because I’m physically hungry?” You may not know the answer to that and the answer may be, “I don’t know,” but I want you to keep asking because we want to start finding the cueing signal that our physiological body has to telling us that we’re hungry.
Some of us have cut that signal off so we have to keep asking to find it. Some of us might find it through maybe we’re tired or we get a headache rather than a hunger cue that comes down from our stomach.
The second question, “Am I eating because I’m physically hungry?” If the answer is, “Yes,” then I want you to eat.
The third question, “Am I eating because I’m emotionally hungry?” You may not know that but by asking you’re going to find out if you’re physically hungry, emotionally hungry…if you don’t know, the possibility is it’s from an emotion. If you’re eating because you’re emotionally hungry then you can go into the grocery store and eat all the food you can. It will never fill up that emotion stomach.
There is a need of some emotional support. If the answer is, “Yes, I’m eating because I’m emotionally hungry,” then you can just stop in a little bit of awareness, start doing something that will support that emotion that you need, maybe by journaling, calling a friend, going and doing something that is going to say, “Hey, I want to change my emotion.”
Sometimes seeing a movie that has comedy in it or something the opposite of the emotion that you’re feeling.
The fourth question is, “Am I eating because I’m bored?” No amount of food or any food can entertain you. If you are, then go do something entertaining. Play a game with a friend, read, watch a movie, take a walk, entertain yourself in some other way than food.
By asking the four questions you can start to rebalance. Ask it about three or four times a day during the day and you’ll be able to then start getting a balance, a blood sugar level that will support you in some nutritional needs and support you in a way that feels good.
As with any type of disorder or disease, in order to recover from an eating disorder, you first have to admit there is a problem. That can be really, really tough. But you can do it. Professional treatment plans and eating disorder recovery programs can help you understand that the little bulimia whispers in your ear… are actually lies. The truth is that self-esteem and happiness come from loving the person you are – loving yourself for who you are, not changing into someone you’re not. Escaping Bulimia is within your grasp – reach out and let those who know about this disorder help.
Facts About Recovery
True eating disorder recovery becomes possible when you realize that you can unlearn the behaviors that Bulimia has taught you. You start by asking for help. But that’s just the beginning. True recovery will allow you to rediscover yourself – your whole self – it’s more than being about eating habits and behaviors, how much you weigh, or the outward physical appearance you see when you look in a mirror. It’s about re-discovering YOU – all of you, who you are, and who you want to be. Six tips to getting there are:
- Listen to your body; really listen
- Accept yourself for who you ARE – a wonderful human being
- Trust yourself; believe in yourself
- Listen to your feelings; don’t ignore them
- Love yourself; yes, you can do it!
- Enjoy life again – the ultimate satisfaction when you overcome an eating disorder
First, as stated above, you must recognize you have a problem. Then, Step 1: Ask for help. This can be difficult, scary, and embarrassing but you have to start somewhere. Talk to a trusted family member, friend, pastor or minister, school counselor, or work colleague. Or you can search for an eating disorder specialist online. Step 2: Find a treatment center/eating disorder specialist that you can work with and who is willing to work with you. You can look online for eating disorder treatment centers. Step 3: Commit to a treatment plan and follow through. Eating disorder support groups can be essential.
Healthy Futures offers eating disorder recovery treatment programs, along with mental health care. Our team is committed to helping you succeed in removing eating disorders from your life. Recovery from an eating disorder is possible. We are here to help; call us.