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Karen's Blogs

Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life.Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

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The Secret to Building a Better Life

The-Secret-to-Building-a-Better-Life

Many people say, “I’ll eat better to live longer,” “I’ll exercise to lose weight,” or “I’ll meditate to feel less angry.” Although it’s true that healthier eating may contribute to longevity, that exercise may help shed pounds, and meditation may reduce reactivity, those goals miss a more essential point about such practices: that while you’re doing them, you feel better and that by doing enough practices in a day that increase feelings of well-being you make yourselves happier, more hopeful and more proud.

Many dysregulated eaters—many people, period—don’t string together enough behaviors in a day or a week to combat stress or keep their mood relatively elevated. Instead they think about and plan down-the-road activities which will boost their spirits: outings and vacations, purchases and external self-care activities such as massages and facials. They contemplate what they’ll drink and eat and where they’ll go to do it.

There’s nothing wrong with any of these pursuits. I engage in and enjoy them myself. But this “I’ll be happy when I’m doing whatever in the future” mentality will not bring you the kind of benefits you hope for. That will happen only when you do the things that bring you energy, joy, peace and pride each day of your life. 

For example, science tells us that exercise and meditation lower your blood pressure over time. However, we also get immediate benefit from doing these activities—pleasure in the moment and pride in nourishing ourselves with care. Aside from long-term benefits, these effort are worthwhile because we they help us generate more positive actions and feelings into a day.

I talk a great deal with clients about building their lives around healthy pleasurable moments, not doing activities because they “have” to or will gain some future benefit. We shower or bathe to become clean but there’s something about the process that is enjoyable if we take a moment to realize it. It feels better to say nice rather than nasty things to ourselves and it also contributes to higher self-esteem. Meditation boosts our sense of well-being while we’re doing it. So we do it over and over again, not to become better at it, but because it makes us feel better and has no downside.

Why wouldn’t you want to schedule many pleasures into your day? They need not be large or take up a great deal of time: playing with your dog or cat for 10 minutes, taking a 20-minute walk, listening to your favorite playlist, and dancing around the living room. Enjoying a lovely meal or a glass of wine would count as well. The goal is to do these activities repeatedly because they help brighten your day.

Best,

Karen

 

Your Inner Voice
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This website is owned and operated by Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW. It contains material intended for informational and educational purposes only, and reasonable effort is made to keep its contents updated. Any material contained herein is not to be construed as the practice of clinical social work or of psychotherapy, although adherence to applicable Florida States, Rules, and Code of Ethics is observed. Material on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment for mental health issues or eating disorder problems, which should be done only through individualized therapeutic consultation. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained on this website. This website contains links to other sites. The inclusion of such links does not necessarily constitute endorsement by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW who disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained in this website. Further, Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy or current usefulness of the material contained in the linked sites. Users of any website must be aware of the limitation to confidentiality and privacy, and website usage does not carry any guarantee or privacy of any information contained therein.  Privacy Policy