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Eating Disorders: Stopping Negative Thoughts

Topic Overview

People who have an eating disorder often become preoccupied with negative thoughts about themselves. It is often hard for them to think healthy or balanced thoughts. Although it is impossible to stop all negative thoughts, you can reduce these thoughts with a few simple techniques.

  • Remember that your goal is to feel better with each passing day. Ask someone you trust to remind you of that when you are feeling hopeless.
  • Every day make one encouraging statement to yourself. For example, say to yourself, "Every day, I am taking better care of myself and my body."
  • Remind yourself that you can do this. Say to yourself, "I am a capable person."
  • Distract yourself for awhile. Play with your pet, write a "thinking-of-you" note to a friend, listen to an empowering song, or imagine putting your negative thoughts in a box and sealing it shut.
  • Accept the thought as your experience, knowing that your thinking took some time to form this pattern. It will take some time to learn to think in a different way. Try mindfulness-based stress reduction to help you with accepting difficult situations and experiences or negative thoughts and feelings.
  • Spend time with other people. Get to know them. Do not spend time repeating negative things to yourself.
  • Make a list of your accomplishments, such as things you have recently learned, things you have recently done that were hard for you, or things you have changed about yourself.
  • Make plans to do something you have been wanting to do, such as visit a new store or see a certain movie.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
W. Stewart Agras, MD, FRCPC - Psychiatry
Last Revised August 27, 2013

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