Aligning Mind & Body
One of the core reasons we struggle with binge eating and body image is due to the misalignment of mind and body. Think of the times, post binge, when you look back on what you did and it was like you were on “binge autopilot.” When you feel that lack of control over your behavior, or even a sense of separation from your actions or reality, it’s because you are experiencing some sort of disconnect between mind and body, head and heart.
Disconnection and Addiction
Disconnection is the birthplace of pain, anxiety, and stress. This is why we develop behaviors like binge eating to numb out. We are so desperate to escape these “bad” feelings. We are desperate for an instant state change, and this is something that we can easily experience through food. However this disconnection is a form of denial – denial of your experience, your feelings, and your behavior. When you are in denial, this can lead to your pain and wounds actually festering and growing more painful. What you resist persists, so if you are resisting these intense, negative feelings, they will just continue to build up and get worse.
This type of disconnection from your body and your experience as a whole can derail your binge eating recovery, because you are not addressing the pain and issues that are real for you. You are instead avoiding them, which will just add a layer of difficulty to your recovery.
Realigning for Recovery
In order to achieve alignment of mind and body, you first need to look at these two entities separately. The mind is logical and operates from a place of fear. It is literally your mind’s job to protect you at all costs, and the best way it can do this is through the lens of fear. The body, on the other hand, operates from a place of wisdom and love. So many skills, functions, and attributes of the body are innate and involuntary.
Now that we have an understanding of how the mind operates versus how the body operates, we need to bridge that gap and have the logical mind and emotional body work together. When the mind and body come into alignment, it creates synergy, which allows us to get into alignment and flow. In my own personal struggle with food and body, I didn’t realize how disconnected I was from my body until I started to experience the alignment of mind and body. It was healing my relationship to my body, building that connection with it, and learning to trust it that eventually helped me overcome binge eating. The more I trusted my body and lived from a place of intuition and love, the less my mind would hijack my experience to try and “protect me.”
In order to aid your recovery, you must allow for the harmony of mind and body, because as long as those two parts of you are at war, life will always feel like a struggle. And what do we know about struggle? The longer it persists, the harder it becomes to overcome it. We become addicted to that way of being, and things like recovery and living life as our best self are no longer priorities, because all we can focus on is being lost in the pain.
Healing Practices for Body and Mind
These are some of my favorite practices to help align mind and body:
Meditation: Meditation is hands down one of the best ways to align mind and body, head and heart. If you struggle with quieting your mind, try guided meditation. You can find a ton of free meditations on YouTube, or you can check out meditation apps.
Presence & Awareness: The only way to truly know if you are aligned is to be aware of your experience. Practice presence instead of harping on the past or borrowing trouble from the future. Start with setting three presence alarms on your phone. Once they go off, take a few minutes to ground yourself and become present, and then see what you are feeling and what you need to feel good in the moment.
Journaling: Journaling is a great way to ground into your body. I love writing morning pages each day – no rhyme or reason, no prompt, I just write whatever comes to me. This is actually how I get some of my best ideas. You could also try journaling specifically on mind and body – maybe write a letter to your body one day, and a letter from your body another.
Breathwork: Breathwork was the gateway to recovery for me. It was the method that allowed me to FEEL my body, truly and deeply, after so many years of being disconnected and struggling with food and body. There are various breathwork resources and books that you can find by doing a quick search online – see what resonates with you.
If you are in recovery, or working on it now, stop and acknowledge yourself and your hard work. Overcoming this struggle isn’t easy. Facing your pain and wounding is one of the hardest things about the human experience, but you are doing it. You are doing the work, and that is incredible. As you continue to work on yourself, start to incorporate the alignment of mind and body into your recovery. It can’t be either or, you need both of these parts of you to work together to help further your transformation. I guarantee this alignment will not only aid in your recovery, but it can change your life for the better.