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  • Hayley O'Brien

Meditation for Eating Disorder Recovery

Many clients enter therapy and learn a thing or two about mindfulness along the way. They might learn how to be aware of the feelings they are having, or practice being non-judgemental and accepting of their thoughts. A big step for people in eating disorder recovery is starting to build awareness of their physical body. Often times this can feel like a scary and overwhelming process.


Typically I will recommend clients incorporate a compassionate body scan into their self care routine. The benefit of a body scan is we aren’t spending too much time focused on a particular part of the body. Instead, we are stopping by briefly to see what we feel, offering compassion and moving on. If at any point during the body scan, you begin to feel overwhelmed with feelings, know you can stop at any time. The intention for a body scan is to invite a non-judgemental awareness. We aren’t here to attach value or worth to our body, but simple here to observe its qualities.


The body scan is intended to move us through the body mindfully. As we bring attention to different parts of the body, tune into a feeling of gratitude. Try offering compassion for all the ways your body has functioned on your behalf. When you have an eating disorder, it is easy to think about all the ways your body has seemingly failed you. And yet, here you are. We have to give the body credit for surviving such harsh elements.


As we move over the body, notice any feelings or thoughts you are having. Perhaps you are feeling some positive feelings toward your body, and perhaps there are also some angry or frustrated feelings too. Let all of your feelings be present and just notice them. At this point, feel free to play the audio recording, or participate through reading along.






We’ll begin the rotation of consciousness throughout our bodies. If you lose track of what I’m saying, of any instructions given during this body scan, it doesn’t matter. Just continue to concentrate on the sound of my voice. So again during rotation of consciousness or any other part of the practice, try to stay aware but if you lose track just concentrate on the sound of my voice.


First, bring your awareness to your fingertips through your palms. Imagine all the goodness in the universe rushing to both of your hands. Restoring them, rejuvenating them, relaxing them. What gifts have your hands provided you with lately? How have they served on your behalf? Now become aware of the wrists, lower arms, elbows, upper arms, shoulders. The entire arms. All the goodness in the universe rushing into both arms. Both arms are completely restored, rejuvenated, relaxed. What gifts can you appreciate here?


Bringing you attention now to your side body, waist, hips and seat. The whole torso. All the goodness in the universe rushing to the whole torso, completely restored, rejuvenated, relaxed. Noticing the gifts, here. Moving attention to the upper legs, knees, lower legs, ankles, the entire legs.The entire legs are completely restored, rejuvenated, relaxed. How have your legs continue to serve you, day after day? Moving down now towards to heels, the bottom on the feet, top of the feet. Both feet. All the goodness in the universe rushing to both feet, completely restored, rejuvenated, relaxed. Where have your feet taken you over the years? Sending full gratitude towards them here.


Bring awareness to the throat, the lower jaw, upper jaw, teeth, gums, lips, left nostril, right nostril, both nostrils, all of the goodness in the universe rushing. Left cheek, right cheek, left ear, right ear. Both cheeks, both ears, all of your awareness. Left eyeball, eyelid, eyebrow, eyelashes, right eyeball, eyelid, eyelashes. Both eyeballs, eyelids, both eyebrows, both eyelashes. All of the goodness in the universe rushing to them. The space between the eyebrows, forehead, scalp, hear on the head, space beyond the hair on the head, all the goodness in the universe rushing to the whole head. Completely restored, rejuvenated, relaxed. The gifts provided here. Full loving kindness here.


Now become aware of the whole body from the tips of the toes up to the top of the head. The whole body. All the goodness in the universe rushing to the whole body, completely restored, rejuvenated, relaxed. The whole body, the whole body. The whole body.

Let yourself feel the specialness of all the gifts from your body, the awe and wonder of them. What would you like to say to your "body self"? Create a phrase that expresses your appreciation. What phrase captures your sense of appreciation for these gifts? Take some time to let this phrase form in your mind.



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