By: Katrin Steinert
It is human nature to want to avoid painful emotional situations and turn towards comfort. Avoiding pain can become automatic and in emotional situations it can be easy to seek comfort in maladaptive behaviors. Accepting painful psychological moments can become mentally taxing and become a big commitment. Turning the mind is a conscious decision to accept the reality of the situation and cope accordingly so it does not turn into denial. Turning the mind requires the act of choice, it is like hitting a fork in the road. The decision to accept is one that takes an inner commitment. The commitment does not mean acceptance has to happen first; it just means the road towards acceptance is the choice that has been made. To the turn the mind means the commitment must be made over and over again. The commitment must be conscious and consistent in order for the wave of pain to dissipate. Some examples of when to use turn the mind is when you are between a rock and a hard place. To choose the more effective choice can be very difficult when the maladaptive choice is the more comfortable choice. The maladaptive choice could be impulsive, not aligned with overall goals or can cause more suffering in the long run. The choice to reduce suffering can be a difficult one, which is why the commitment to acceptance is crucial.
By: Stella Michon
Most of the festivities we enjoy during the holidays surround family, friends and above all else-food. Spending time cooking and sharing traditions with loved ones is a beautiful way to connect, but can be stressful to those who struggle with their relationships to food and body image. Challenging family dynamics, travel stressors and the pressure to eat big meals are just a few factors that make this time period particularly triggering.
Below are a few ways to encourage a peaceful relationship with food for the rest of the Holiday season.
Be aware of diet culture: Messages like “new year, new you”, “eat healthy during the holidays without sacrificing fitness goals“, and advice on how to” make up for”/ “reset” after eating throughout the holidays can have damaging effects on those who struggle with food. These messages often convince us that the way to achieve happiness and fulfillment is through changing and shrinking our bodies. I urge my clients to challenge these ideas and search for joy through self-acceptance and trust in your body.
Clear boundary setting: Put a stop to others comments about your food or body. Remarks like, “ do you really need more?” “Have you lost/gained weight?” “What about trying ___” or listening to loved ones discussing their diet plans can make your holiday food experience anxiety provoking. I suggest that clients come up with a simple script each time they encounter this issue. You can practice kindly explaining to others that diet and calories are not topics you want to discuss or try requesting to change the subject.
Create like-minded community: Perhaps you have a friend of safe person who is also working on making peace with food- can they attend holiday events with you? If not, are you in touch with a community of people who are on the same journey? I suggest starting by checking out accounts like @trustyourbodyproject, @chr1styharrison, and the @intuitive_rd to start this community online.
Change the focus of your health goals: You can still prioritize health and well being without traditional diet and fitness goals. For example, consider reframing your goals from weight loss or body changes to increasing strength and aiding in stress relief and sleep. The goal here is to step into food choices and exercise from a place of self-love instead of self-loathing for a more restorative and compassionate experience.