Journaling can be a great tool to help you change your thoughts in eating disorder recovery. Do you catch yourself thinking things like, “I’m ugly," “I’ll never recover," or “I don’t deserve better than to have this eating disorder for the rest of my life?" Thoughts like these can sabotage your recovery efforts.
While in the throes of an eating disorder, you can find that you’re being ruled by lies and negative thoughts. These thoughts affect your emotions which, in turn, affect your behaviors. It’s a tough cycle to break, but journaling can help.
1. Recognize your troublesome thoughts. Be aware of how untrue and negative they may be. As they come to you, list them on a page in your journal for just this purpose.
2. Evaluate how you feel when you focus on these lies and negative thoughts. Take some time to write about the emotions that arise when these negative thoughts are reeling through your mind.
3. Consider how your emotions affect your decisions and behaviors. For example, if one of your negative thoughts is, “I’ll never recover”, and that brings about a feeling of hopelessness, how does that affect your eating in that moment? Write about the connection you see between your thoughts, emotions and behaviors.
4. Search for positive and truthful thoughts. Find quotes, song lyrics, poems or bible verses that encourage and inspire you. Dedicate pages in your journal for them. Find truthful and positive thoughts to combat as many of the lies and negative thoughts as you can.
5. Examine how you feel when you ponder the positive and truthful thoughts. Write about how differently you feel when you focus on these thoughts instead of the lies and negative thoughts.
6. Imagine how your eating behaviors might change if you believed what is edifying and true. Pen your thoughts about that.
7. Review the truthful, encouraging thoughts daily. When the lies come, switch your thoughts to something truthful. Record your successes in your journal.
While these journaling suggestions won’t “cure” your eating disorder, they can help you take a vital step in your recovery – that of changing your thoughts. Why not give them a try?
Laurie Glass is the creator of Freedom from Eating Disorders at www.freedomfromed.com. She is a recovered anorexic and Pastoral Counselor who provides e-mail Christian counseling for adult women with eating disorders. She is the author of Journey to Freedom from Eating Disorders as well as other works about eating disorder recovery from a Christian perspective. In addition, she was quoted in the April, 2012 issue of Women’s Health Magazine.