Eating disorders, despite some of their stereotypes, are incredibly serious and dangerous. Anorexia is the leading cause of mental health-related deaths, and 40% of people who struggle with an eating disorder also self-harm. It’s important to understand that eating disorders are mostly psychological, and mental health treatment is often necessary to help someone overcome the problem.
Too often people believe the misconception that those struggling with eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating are doing it for vanity reasons or for attention. More often than not, however, there are deeper roots as to why some people develop these disorders. College students are especially at risk since eating disorders often start between the ages of 18-21. The stress of college is often the trigger that can cause those individuals to want some control in their lives.
It’s important that we look at eating disorders as mental health disorders, especially when it comes to young people and college-aged individuals. If an eating disorder isn’t treated, it can lead to serious health problems:
- Blocked intestines
- Heart conditions
- Bacterial infections
- Numbness in limbs
- Terrible migraines that may require medication or even stress therapy
There are several ways to “treat” an eating disorder and improve your mental health. Getting help from a professional healthcare specialist is the best thing you can do, but to aid in your recovery process, yoga can help in more ways than you might expect.
The Myths Behind Eating Disorders
Despite the fact that at least 30 million Americans have an eating disorder, there are still some common misconceptions and myths surrounding them. These myths can be dangerous. When people don’t fully understand eating disorders, it’s easy to make assumptions, which creates a negative stigma surrounding an already serious mental health condition. Some of the most common myths include the following:
- Only women are impacted by eating disorders (1 in 3 affected are men)
- They only affect teenagers
- People choose to have eating disorders
- People with eating disorders are thin
- Those with eating disorders won’t ever recover
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to eating disorders or one underlying reason why some people struggle with them. The more educated everyone is on the research behind these dangerous disorders, the more likely it is that people will start to get the help they need without feeling stereotyped or judged.
Finding Your Confidence and Feeling Like Yourself Through Yoga
Some people who develop eating disorders are stressed or overwhelmed. Others are looking for some control in their lives. Some may even have body dysmorphia, which affects about 1 in 50 people. Having a distorted body image can quickly lead to disordered eating and an unhealthy relationship with yourself and your body.
Recovering from an eating disorder involves feeling more like yourself again while you’re getting the help and treatment from experts that you need. If body image issues are a problem for you, it’s important to find ways to boost your confidence. Yoga can be a big help in finding yourself again and feeling better about who you really are.
Yoga can help by making you more in-tune with your body and encouraging positive self-talk and mindfulness. It can help you to let go of the world around you and focus on the present.
When you’re in a yoga pose, you can take the time to observe your own body and how it’s moving and responding. Use that time to engage in positive self-talk, and to focus on your breathing. This is called body mindful awareness. The more aware you are of your own body, thoughts, and emotions, the easier it can be to banish negative self-talk.
Yoga can also help you to step out of your comfort zone, which is another way to boost confidence naturally. It will help to show you exactly what your body is capable of and can make you feel powerful and strong. When you feel those things, you may start to see that your body is worthy of self-love, no matter how it looks.
Yoga helps to reduce stress levels, can boost your overall health, and allows you to focus on something other than your own image. While it isn’t a cure for eating disorders, it can be used as a supplement to professional medical treatment, and it can be a lifelong practice to help keep your mental health grounded.
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