We’re all familiar with irrational thoughts—those ideas that originate in the darker parts of our mind and that when exposed to the light of awareness, are clearly unhealthy. Unfortunately, as we find with the people we work with at our teen eating disorder recovery center, we sometimes accept those irrational thoughts as valid even when they aren’t. It’s especially easy to do when you are battling an eating disorder.
Here are five strategies for overcoming those thoughts and developing healthier thought patterns:
- Be on the lookout for negative thoughts. Not every negative thought is irrational, but when an idea brings about negative emotions, there is often an element of irrationality involved. Get into a habit of analyzing the negative thoughts that come into your mind and asking why. Why do I have to feel this way? Why should I take that action I feel compelled to take?
- Challenge yourself to turn negative thoughts into positive behaviors. If an irrational impulse is pointing in one direction, consider what would happen if you went the other. For example, if you think something someone said indicates they don’t like you and you feel like withdrawing, try doing the opposite and engaging further. If they truly don’t like you, you’ll find out. But if you were wrong in your initial assessment, you’ve just saved a relationship!
- Get a second opinion. When you suspect you might be under the influence of irrational thinking, get input from someone you trust. They can give you a different perspective on the situation. It may agree with yours, or it may be entirely different. But either way, it never hurts to get someone else’s assessment.
- Practice meditation. Meditation won’t necessarily eliminate your irrational thoughts, but it will help you achieve the mental “space” you need to evaluate your thoughts before acting on them. This can keep you from letting bad ideas push you into actions you regret.
- Practice self-compassion. Sometimes, it’s just hard to know what is true and what is a figment of your imagination. That’s part of being human. Rather than expecting yourself to make the right call in every situation, be gentle with yourself. You’re going to make mistakes, because everyone does. Don’t punish yourself.
Helping You Stay Grounded in the Real World
One of the keys to successfully recovering from an eating disorder is avoiding the downward spiral that can be initiated by negative, irrational thoughts. At our teen eating disorder recovery center, we help you stay grounded in the real world and moving toward better health. Contact us to learn more about our programs: 916-784-1120.