For many of us, mindfulness has become just another overused word in the self-help social media world. But there is genuinely some truth to these practices, and we can use them help us stay grounded and energized. In this blog post, we'll discuss how mindfulness practices can help you in managing and overcoming Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs) like hair-pulling (trichotillomania), skin-picking (dermatillomania), and nail-biting.
Why does Mindfulness matter for a BFRB?
BFRBs involve unconscious and repetitive behaviors that can lead to significant distress, both emotionally and physically. Practicing mindfulness can play a crucial role in raising awareness of these behaviors, thus helping a person to identify triggers and develop healthy coping strategies.
How Mindfulness and Awareness affect your mental health
By practicing mindfulness, individuals become more in-tune with their physical sensations and emotional states. This increased self-awareness can help manage stress, minimize negative emotions, and promote a sense of calm and well-being.
When dealing with a BFRB, we need that sense of awareness. For many people with BFRBs, it's difficult to become in tune with what exactly your BFRB is trying to tell you. We are often taught to tune out what our body is asking for, for the sake of things like working harder, focusing in class, and getting tasks done. It's become part of our culture to ignore our individual needs. Learning to manage your BFRB requires you to identify those individual needs, and figure out which ones trigger your BFRB.
Mindfulness practices: Meditation
Regular meditation practice can reduce stress levels, enhance self-awareness, and provide a mental space for individuals to confront and process their emotions in a healthy way. There are various meditation techniques, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and body scan meditation, which can be helpful in curbing the urges linked to BFRBs.
Having a routine of meditation helps you grow important skills like sitting still, riding out your train thoughts, growing comfortable with hard thoughts, and connecting to quieter parts of your mind and body. All of these things are great skills to have when managing a BFRB.
Mindfulness practices: Self-care planning
Dedicating time and effort to self-care allows us to show ourselves the love and kindness we deserve. By engaging in activities we enjoy, we can boost our mood and reduce stress (a BFRB trigger for many of us).
Sometimes we don't understand what self-care actually means. It's not just a bubble bath, but it's implementing structure into our lives that allows us time for ourselves and our interests. Things like taking time every week to write that novel you've always wanted (or whatever hobby), making sure you're going to bed early when you have an early morning, keeping your space clean (if that's something that stresses you out), and taking time to socialize with people that you love.
You, yourself, are worth taking the time to do this. Your mental health is worth it. Your happiness is worth it.
Mindfulness practices: Respecting your Boundaries
Setting and maintaining personal boundaries helps people with BFRBs in ways that truly transcend them. In the process of hiding our BFRBs, many of us find ourselves bending, and even breaking, for the comfort of others. You shouldn't need to do that to feel secure and loved. Understand your limits and communicate them assertively to maintain balance in relationships and work environments. Respecting your boundaries will contribute positively to your well-being and lessen the likelihood of engaging in BFRBs.
Using Mindfulness to help manage your BFRB
While mindfulness practices alone might not give you complete control over your BFRBs, they can play a vital role in your management journey. Consistent practice of mindfulness techniques empowers us to gain more control over our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, creating a healthier sense of self. When we have a healthier sense of self, we can give ourselves more grace, encourage ourselves more authentically, and make more progress.
Your BFRB and Awareness: being in-touch with your urges and body
Understanding your body's needs and connecting with physical sensations through mindfulness can help us gain insight into our urges related to BFRBs. By paying attention to sensations that trigger these behaviors, you can take appropriate action, such as seeking calming activities or utilizing coping strategies. Here's a blog post suggesting different replacement strategies.
Using HabitAware by Keen to help grow awareness of your hands and mindfulness of your body's needs
Our Keen bracelet is a wearable device designed to enhance your awareness of BFRBs. This sends a gentle vibration as a reminder to help you recognize your unwanted behavior, allowing you to refocus and redirect your actions. Coupled with mindfulness practices, this device can help to break the cycle of BFRBs and lead to a more positive, balanced life.
In conclusion, employing mindfulness practices and tools like HabitAware's Keen Bracelet can create a powerful combination for managing and overcoming BFRBs. Be patient with yourself, consistently work on mindfulness techniques, and experience
Photo by Lesly Juarez