I personally really enjoy the Yoga experience and I recommend Yoga for many of my clients. We see there are so many benefits for our minds, bodies and spirits. Something I have noticed in my own experience is the introduction of topics that seem very abstract, and I never feel that they are explained very much, if at all. In full disclosure, I don’t like when I don’t understand something, so I normally do my research and put thought into it to figure it out. During this process exploring the idea I will soon share with you, I concluded that the “definitions” of these ideas are purposely not given because there isn’t one concrete definition and figuring out what it means to you is part of the experience. Yoga and meditation are highly personal experiences and what an idea means to one person may not be the same to another. I enjoy taking what I learn from my personal experiences in these practices into my professional helping world, which is what I will do in this post.
The idea that I kept hearing that I became increasingly interested in figuring out what it meant was the concept of “creating space.” I find this idea coming up a lot lately with many of my clients. One place where creating space can be incredibly helpful is between thought and action. Let me explain more. Our lives consist of a bunch of thought-action sequences, and we could see these sequences become habitual which is why it becomes so difficult to break a bad habit. With Eating Disorders, there are many ways that the thought-action sequence becomes habitual and problematic. For example, some people in their Eating Disorders struggle with counting calories constantly. In recovery, that behavior must be addressed, but unfortunately, it is very difficult because it is another thought-action sequence. We think about a food we want and immediately start calculating calories in our heads. Creating space is creating time and “space” between the thought (wanting a particular food) and action (calculating calories.) Instead, next time when you think about wanting a food and notice the immediate action is calculating the calories, be prepared for this and force yourself to engage in something else. I suggest listening to a song and singing the lyrics to it or having a conversation with someone. The more you need to think or have words in your mind, the better the tactic usually is in warding off the impulse to count calories. You may and likely will resort back to the calculating calories, but the space that you are working on creating will make it easier for you to begin to break this behavior. The space weakens the knee-jerk, thought-action reaction. Over time, that space will ideally become longer and begin to be filled with other more recovery-oriented thoughts and actions, and eventually the thought-action sequence will be broken.
Another area that creating space can assist with in recovery is creating mental and physical space for more pleasurable things. All too often, many of my clients resort to negative self-talk which turns into a negative spiral. They experience the feeling that they are unable to enjoy things because practically 100% of their brain feels like it is being taken up with negative thoughts. It can feel extremely difficult to begin creating space to allow for more pleasurable thoughts and feelings to enter your life. The way I suggest doing this is by structuring in time to do things that were once pleasurable, provides some pleasure now or you think may be able to provide you with pleasure. The more concentration it takes, the better! Dedicate half an hour a day to a potential pleasurable hobby such as painting, writing stories or croqueting. At the very least, that provides half an hour of positive mental space a day. Once you begin creating some space, it becomes easier to create more space. Just like the negative spiral we’re all aware of, there’s also a positive spiral, known as “spiraling up” illustrated throughout the book I have been discussing, Body Kindness. Positivity draws more positivity, and when we have positivity, there’s that much less room for negativity.
I’m by no means suggesting that these are easy things to do. It doesn’t always feel like the thing we want to do especially when our Eating Disorder voices are loud and degrading toward you. Be prepared for creating space to be difficult, but well worth the hard work!
Thank you for taking the time to read this post! Please share with anyone you feel may benefit from creating space in their lives! If you have any questions, concerns or requests for future posts, please leave a comment or message me privately.
I wish you space on your journey to finding your State of Balance!
Binge And Restrict Cycle
Eating Disorder Specialist
Healthy Self Vs. Eating Disorder