The Recovery Warrior Shows

Self-critical thoughts are a practice. They become embedded and habitual. To break their destructive cycle takes time and applying self-compassion.

Show Notes

Self-critical thoughts are a practice. And they become embedded and habitual. To break their destructive cycle takes time and applying self-compassion.

I can promise you, when practiced over time, self-compassion will be the thing that gets you unstuck and keeps you moving forward.

Learn how to work with self-critical thoughts in a new way with Dr. Ann Saffi Biasetti, our featured eating disorder and self-compassion expert.

Self-Compassion Q&A Series:

Part 1: "Am I the Problem?" When You FEEL ALONE in Your Struggles with Food and Body
Part 2: How do I work with CRITICAL THOUGHTS?
Part 3: How do I move from SELF-CRITICISM to self-compassion?


What is The Recovery Warrior Shows?

Real talk. Real insights. Real stories of recovery helping people stop fighting food and their body since 2012.

Welcome to Recovery Warriors podcast channel. Where many voices come together to share the one great journey to full eating disorder recovery.

With a unique lineup of shows, your food, body, and self-esteem struggles are covered from every angle. Balancing science and soul, we tell stories and share evidence-based research behind what it takes to recover from restriction, anorexia, bulimia, over-exercising, binge eating, chronic dieting and disordered eating. Not only that, we also cover the underlying trauma, limiting beliefs, and painful emotions that keep you trapped in cycles of feeling powerless and stuck.

It’s exhausting constantly thinking about food and worrying about your weight. You, dear warrior, don’t have to live like this. Together, let’s march forward into a future where you’re living, breathing proof that recovery is possible.

Jessica Flint 0:02
Hello there warrior. I'm your host Jessica Flint. I'm the founder and CEO of recovery warriors a wisdom sharing platform for all people impacted by an eating disorder. Recovery warriors provides resources and support to heal your relationship to food, body, mind and soul. I believe recovery is not only possible, but it is worth it. That is why recover strong exists to help you see and connect to the potential that lies within you to find freedom from an eating disorder. Today we have a q&a where we check in with experts and warriors with live recovery experience to answer your recovery related questions. This is all part of our mission to help bring you more recovery wisdom in less time. And if you can tell I am nursing a cold. Actually, that was like one of the first things I learned in Toastmasters, which is like a public speaking club. It's still like not call out that you're sick or that you're like anyways, they've always said just like own own it. So I'm gonna own it. And I did call it out but yeah, I may have to cough a few times during this. But I feel like I got that like nice raspy voice so call me. Anyways, just kidding. So this q&a is part of a series on self compassion. We're continuing today with the third and final part with expert Dr. And stuffy be a study doctor and is author of one of our featured book club reads be friending your body a self compassionate approach to freeing yourself from disordered eating. Dr. Ahn is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in eating disorders and body image issues, and has been in practice for over 30 years. Fion it's a long time. Now in this time, she's established herself as the leading expert in self compassion and eating disorders. Dr. Anne knows the ins and outs of self compassion in eating disorder recovery. Oh my god, I gotta pause to cough. I hope you guys are staying healthy out there. You know, it's whenever your house gets compromised, you're like, Man, I really like it when I can speak normally. But anyways, so first, let's go over what we've covered so far in the past Q and A's. And I'll have all of these Q and A's linked below in the show description box. So you can easily navigate from one to the next because I highly recommend learning all three of the components. This has been a major part of the programs that I've taught and has been instrumental in so many people's lives. And at first you may be like whatever, like self compassion, I don't even know whatever. Like she's just talking about this. This is like one of the most important skills to focus on. So I I know it sounds all soft and kinda like nebulous, and how are you going to do it, there's literally components that you can practice that you can make into these growth habits and make it happen in your life, you can become more self compassionate, you can go from being ultra self critical to ultra self compassionate. And I just know this from personal experience and my professional experience, and so does and so let's go over what we've covered so far. In part one, we discussed the first component of self compassion. Now this is common humanity, which is the understanding that you're not suffering alone, and also out of fairness that your body is not the problem. Society is. In part two, we covered the second component of self compassion, mindfulness, and Dr. And taught us how to build containment, tolerance, and equanimity around a self critical moment. Now, in order for us to have self compassion, we must also have mindfulness and mindfulness you can think about as present moment awareness, present moment awareness to your critical thoughts, to your emotions, and the associated physiological sensations or responses that can come from that. So when you start to bring more mindfulness, which is really just being an observer, an observer of your experience, then you are able to bring in the self compassion to that. So we must have mindfulness in order to bring in the self compassion now and talks about this as mindfulness and self compassion, like being two wings of a bird. We need both to fly. And now today, in part three, we'll explore the last component of self compassion, self kindness. The simplest definition of self compassion is how would you treat a friend? Now if you're still having doubts about whether self compassion can work? for you, or if it's something that you can incorporate into your life, allow Dr. Ahn to reiterate the research of the proven benefits of self compassion.

Ann Saffi Biasetti 5:07
So you still may be having some doubts about self compassion and all this self kindness and wondering, once again, like many people do that if you start applying this will you become somehow unmotivated or too soft around the things you want to do, or keeping yourself moving forward. And again, I just want to remind you of all the research on self compassion, including my own. And I want to tell you a bit about when I research self compassion through the recovery process, that it was the number one thing that kept people moving forward. So in all the times that you may have gotten stuck before, through this process, self compassion, I can promise you, when practiced over time, will be the thing that gets you unstuck and keeps you moving forward. So to reiterate that simple definition of self compassion, if you remember me saying in the very beginning, it's that question of how would you treat a friend. So I'd like you to consider once again, some of the things you may say to a friend who may be struggling with some of the same issues that you're struggling with, you know, maybe they are statements such as you got this, you can do it, it'll be okay. Be kinder to yourself, This is just a moment, maybe those are some of the statements that you would say,

Jessica Flint 6:44
you got this, you can do it. I know you'll get through this. I am so here for you. These are all things that I've said to my friends when they're going through a hard time, nothing but love for them, because I want the best for them. Now treating yourself the way you would treat fend sounds so simple. And at the same time, it can be challenging when what your current circumstances is that you're living with an eating disorder, and allowed inner critic. And that's okay, you got he got to start somewhere. So Dr. Ahn has a practice, you can try to help you start to be more and more kind to yourself.

Ann Saffi Biasetti 7:22
And now we're going to practice what it's like to turn those statements towards yourself. And I know this may not be easy, but that's why it's called a practice, right. So let's begin with taking a comfortable seat. And I'd like you to place a hand somewhere on your body that feels safe and containing. And what I mean by that is just a simple touch creates so much in our nervous system, as far as balancing a harsh moment. And it may seem like nothing much, but it really does a great deal to calm down a moment. So you can take either hands together, you can take a hand to your heart, if that feels comfortable, maybe to your face to your arms, whatever feels comfortable to you. And now I'd like you to call to mind the last self critical moment or thought that you had maybe there's one right in this moment. And I'd like you to see first off what it's like to just feel your hand touching the space of your body. Offering warmth. Offering a soothing touch. In just in this moment, that hand gesture is a way for you to come to the moment once again, Sue that and soften it and now see what it's like to add in some of those phrases. You got this it'll be okay. You know how to do this. You are strong it will pass see what it's like to offer your own words the words that you would use toward a friend towards yourself. Notice what it feels like in your body. Notice what it feels like in your mind.

Jessica Flint 9:44
This is a practice that doctor and encourages you to do every day, even multiple times a day and I highly recommend that too. The key here is incorporating the soothing touch gesture. Now my go to is my hand to my heart's I'm actually doing that at this very moment, most of the time that I'm talking to you, I actually have my hand to my heart. Just so you know, now I wake up every single morning, with a hand to the heart, I like to call it my little hand heart hug. And I go to bed with the same soothing touch gesture. And even when I'm doing things at my computer, and I start to feel overwhelmed, or stress or any emotion that doesn't feel very comfortable, my go to reactions, put my hand on my heart, and be mindful and observe, observe my thoughts, observe my emotions, and just take note of them. Now, this actual physical touch gesture, and what it does, the benefit of it is it evokes the Emilian response system that you are getting care in nurturance. So us humans fundamentally, to survive to thrive, we need to feel nurtured and cared for. So when we can give that to ourselves any time of day, that allows us to evoke this mammalian response that we actually physiologically feel more cared for. So the soothing touch gesture is something to not underestimate. It is very powerful. Now, when we think about the words, the second component, we have our soothing touch gesture, which once again, I like my hand, my heart hug, but you can do hand, your hand on your hand and on your forearm and on your face, anything that makes you feel like you are being touched in a soothing way. So when we apply the soothing touch gesture, the next thing is then to apply the kind words, and it may not feel very believable or natural, and I totally hear you, it can be hard to be that you're strong when you're feeling super weak and helpless, or like things will be okay after years of telling yourself otherwise, doctor and explains why having this resistance is perfectly normal.

Ann Saffi Biasetti 11:50
Now, one of the first things I hear when offering this practice out to my clients is that the words don't really feel believable at first. And that is perfectly fine. I don't expect you too, all of a sudden believe these words, I expect them to feel a little foreign right now. That's okay. Because you're not used to practicing these, you have to understand that unfortunately, the self critical thoughts are a practice to, and they have become really embedded, and habitual. So to break that cycle with self kindness, it takes time. So out of fairness, again, I asked you to be patient and continue this practice daily. And as I said, multiple times a day, where over time, I can promise you, it will get easier. We keep practicing. And we keep working this until we become these thoughts. And you will over time find that all of a sudden one day. This is what comes to mind. First, the self kindness comes to mind first over the self critical Can you imagine that? It does happen. There is research to back it. And you know, I hear examples day after day of my clients coming in to tell me that, you know, they had a moment that was a struggle. And in the past that they've would really berate themselves and move into that terrible guilt cycle and self critical cycle, which only kept them stuck and took them down. And now they say that they find that if they meet that moment, with these kinds of words and these kinds of gestures, that all of a sudden they're ready to start again. And that's all it takes.

Jessica Flint 13:55
You're self critical thoughts didn't develop overnight, and they won't go away overnight either. And that's okay. Embrace patience as you continue these daily practices of self compassion, and turn them into what I like to call a growth habit. This is a small thing that you do every day that over time, compounds and benefits get bigger and bigger and better. It's about taking one small step at a time. Now just listening to this episode today and considering the message shared in it is a monumental step in and of itself. Embrace every small change in step you take because they're adding up to something big. Dr. Anna has had the pleasure of watching many of her clients go through this journey. And I have as well with my students and in my own personal experience. Eventually, you too can be an example of handling moments of struggle in more compassionate ways. Imagine if more people did that how the world would change. Cue John Lennon imagine it's So we've covered all three research back components of self compassion, common humanity, mindfulness and self kindness, to kind of give a quick recap on how I like to remember these and how I talked to these as my students as I like to do a versus so common humanity versus isolation. So you can kind of say, Who am I in common humanity, meaning, I'm not alone in this issue. Other people on earth struggle with this. I'm not the only one who feels this way, or is experiencing the struggle versus isolation. I'm so broken, this is all my fault. This is all me, right? That's where you're isolating, you're feeling like you are cut off from other people who are struggling with the same thing. Mindfulness, the second component, mindfulness versus over identification, mindfulness, meaning present moment awareness, detached observer mode, where you're seeing things from a larger view, over identification, you're pretty much in it. So you're taking this on, as you a critical thought pops in and you are saying, Yep, I'm not only going to listen to that thought, I'm going to identify myself with that thought, mindfulness versus over identification. The third component, self kindness, versus self criticism, self kindness, talking to yourself as if you were a good friend, self criticism, talking to yourself like an enemy or someone that you really don't care about, with harsh words that really can hurt. Now, back to the word imagine, imagine a different future, one where you break the cycle of guilt and self criticism. By practicing these three components of self compassion every day, you can turn this into a growth habit, and you can watch the changes unfold over time, you can build a better life, free from the harshness of self critical thoughts about food, your body and your overall self worth. So practice saying with your hand to your heart, giving yourself a good heart hug. You know how to do this. It's okay that this feels hard. You are strong, and this will pass.

Well, my warrior friend, thank you for having the discipline to listen in. If you found this episode helpful and know somebody in recovery who could benefit from its inspiring message, please share this show with them. It would mean the world to us recovery warriors if we can get our cause out to more people struggling with an eating disorder. So if what you heard today was helpful, share the show with another warrior or anyone on your treatment team. You can do this directly from your podcast player or send them over to recovery We have a goldmine of free resources there for all stages of recovery. And until the next episode, may compassion like the path you were on, encouraged keep you on it. You totally got this warrior.