The last week of February is Eating Disorders Awareness Week. With every day and week being labeled a new national holiday or something corky to celebrate, it’s impossible to keep it all straight! The theme of this year is “Come As You Are” to highlight that ANYONE can struggle with an eating disorder regardless of your age, gender, ethnicity, weight, income level, etc.
No matter where you are in your own recovery from an eating disorder or if you’re someone struggling with any of the concepts below, this week is a time for you to refocus and take note of a few simple things you can try:
You may be saying to yourself, “yeah right, that’s all too good to be true.” But it’s not! It takes time, practice, and patience with yourself to be intentional about how your thoughts are affecting your actions, and what things you can do every day to live into some of these practices.
Meeting with a Therapist and/or Dietitian who practices intuitive eating and has a passion for supporting those interested in living a life apart from the unrealistic expectations our culture pushes on us to be “enough” can be extremely worthwhile.
If you would like to take a free, confidential, online screening to see if it’s time to seek help, go to: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/screening-tool
Whitney Harken, LSCSW, CEDS
Individual & Family Therapist specializing in the treatment of Eating Disorders
“We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for changes that I know.”
Our world moves fast. We are constantly flooded with messages and stimuli that our brain filters to determine what we actually need to pay attention to and put energy into. While this can make us fantastic multitaskers, it unfortunately can create issues when we’re trying to communicate with our partners.
Healthy communication involves two parts – the speaker and the listener – and there are skills that both partners can implement to significantly improve their connection, understanding, and overall communication. This month, let’s take a look at the listening side of things.
What is active listening?
Active listening is listening to what your partner is saying and how they feel without injecting your personal opinions, defenses, or preferences. It requires practice and discipline, similar to any other skill. For example, let’s use meditation. The first time you meditate, your mind will likely wander and focus on every little thing but meditating. It takes time and practice to be able to focus on the present moment without your mind drifting. Active listening is similar in the sense that it can be learned, it requires mindfulness, and it is intentional.
How will your partner feel when you’re actively listening?
5 Steps to Become an Active Listener
Counseling Intern Level 2
“Do not waste yourself in rejection; do not bark against the bad,
Rejection is one of the hardest things to accept because, even when it is not personal, it’s personal. To say no one likes rejection doesn’t even begin to encompass the feeling that it can create in us. We hate rejection, we despise rejection, and we avoid it like a plague. But what is it really and when we are rejected, are WE really being rejected? It’s important to know what rejection does to us and what we can do to get past it so we don’t stay stuck in the rejection as we try to get through our days.
1. Rejection rides the same pathways as pain in the brain. That’s right, when we are rejected, our brains react the same ways as if we are physically hurt.
2. Rejection sends us into a tailspin where we may find ourselves attacking our own self-esteem. Just merely the suggestion of being rejected and we start analyzing ourselves, am I not dressed right, am I too fat, am I smart enough, am I ugly, and on and on we go.
3. Rejection lowers our IQ, temporarily. That’s right, when we are in the throngs of rejection, we can’t think as well. When asked to think of a recent experience of rejection and relive the experience, those asked scored significantly lower on subsequent IQ tests, short-term memory tests, and decision making tests. Explains a lot of why we do what we do after we feel rejected, right?
So, then the question is, what do we do when we are rejected to stop ourselves from being our own worst enemy? Here are a few things to try and keep in mind as we experience rejection.
1. Acknowledge it. Simple right? Instead of trying to ignore or run away from the feeling of rejection, acknowledge to yourself what you are feeling. Embarrassed, sad, hurt, etc.
2. Recognize that you WILL be rejected in you life, more than once. If we never experience rejection than we are probably someone who allows themselves to be walked all over. If that is what you want, cool, but if not, expect to be rejected at some point. It’s okay, it may mean that you are stronger than you realized.
3. Be compassionate with you. Don’t beat yourself up over every little thing that could have, or did go wrong. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes, it’s part of being human. So be a little gentler to yourself.
4. Lastly, two things; don’t let the rejection define who you are, and learn from it. Being rejected may have absolutely nothing to do with you. It may be (and more likely to be) that the other person is hurting, frustrated, or afraid themselves and is simply lashing out. It doesn’t make it easier to take, but knowing that the rejection is not a defining factor in who you are is important to remember. With that, if we look at what we can learn from the rejection, we may be able to grow even more as a person. By not letting the rejection take over and by learning what there is to learn, we can discover incredible things about ourselves that we may never have known otherwise.
Easier said than done, I know, but if we try and do these things the next time we get rejected, and there will be a next time, maybe we can better free ourselves from the spiraling thoughts and emotions we often find ourselves in.
Counseling Intern Level 1
Morin, A. (2015). November 15. Inc.com. Retrieved from www.inc.com
Winch, G. (2013, July 03). 10 Surprising facts about rejection. Psychology Today. Retrieved from www.psychologytoday.com