Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as, “Paying attention to something, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”
The goal of mindfulness is to get into the present moment and stay there. Once you witness what is happening, you pause, notice what’s arising as it’s coming up, and pay attention to thoughts and feelings. Be aware of it all, without trying to change anything.
In a post about the mind-body disconnect of eating disorders, I wrote that “for people with eating disorders, there’s a clear disconnect between body and mind – it’s like living from the neck up. Because that reconnection is so vital to recovery, many treatment methods are designed to realign the mind, body and spirit.”
When we make the effort to quiet our thoughts, we’re given the gift of more clarity to see what’s really bothering us.
That kind of clarity can feel frightening or overwhelming, so much so that people use or restrict food to avoid seeing the truth. It’s important to be gentle with yourself and take baby steps to meditation.
A key part of mindfulness is remembering not to judge the moment, or judge your own judgment if it does happen. You just bring your attention back to whatever you’re doing. After noticing something and dismissing it without judgment, then you’re able to let it go.
Practicing that release of judgment when sitting with your own thoughts can help you apply more compassion to yourself (inspiring you to take better care of yourself by taking positive actions for your recovery) and others (strengthening relationships with people who can support you in your recovery).