Have you had enough of the negativity that plagues your perception of your own body?
Do you wish you could look in the mirror and see whatever it is you see without picking yourself apart?
Do you always find yourself on the low end of an increasingly unrealistic beauty rating system?
It’s time for you to join the movement. With the help of the internet, the Body Positive Movement, established in 1996, is rising fast.
How can you join in?
Body Positivity is about adopting a more self-forgiving and self-affirming perspective toward your body. In addition, you learn to see other men and women with a less critical eye. The main idea is to see bodies as temples of health and well-being. Nurturing those aspects are worthy goals for all people. From there, happier, more productive lives can follow.
What can you do easily and practically to embrace a more balanced, self-loving lifestyle? For starters, dump the body politics, social stigmas and acceptance of body extremes as something to aspire to or ridicule. Just be you.
Here are 10 easy ways to boost your body positivity:
1. Express gratitude for your body’s capabilities.
Celebrate how amazing you are. What can your body do? How does it channel your hopes and pleasures? Think about and feel grateful for the things your body does for you. Can you run, dance, bike, breathe deeply, laugh, and work? Congratulate your body for taking such good care of you and housing your phenomenal mind.
2. Generate an appreciation list
List what you like about who you are, beyond weight or your outward appearance. Keep a copy of the list with you and refer to it often. Add to it at will and watch your list grow as your confidence grows.
3. Power down offending media
How you fill your mind matters. Information affects how we feel about ourselves. Be choosy about the print and digital media you absorb. Challenge your thinking about the bodies you see as you come across depictions of people in photos and on television.
4. Keep in mind that the definition of beauty is not as simple as some people make it
Define “true beauty” for yourself. Know that when you feel better about yourself, confidence will follow. The ensuing self-acceptance will help you feel beautiful and encourage you to see the beauty in others. Try to see yourself as a whole person–mind, body, and emotions. All aspects count and should not be diminished for the sake of unrealistic physical standards.
5. Tap into a positive community of people
Having people around that know the natural you and appreciate you for who you are is vital. They can remind you to go easy on yourself and offer support when necessary. Do what you can to foster mutual body positivity, being sure to show your friends how much you appreciate them as they are, too.
6. Address your inner dialogue
Quiet those voices in your head that insist your body is not “good”, “right” or “acceptable”. Practice affirmations like, “I love and accept my body as it is today.” Use them to override negative self-talk and automatic negativity. Consider work with a therapist to help you learn how to overcome particularly persistent negative thinking or Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTS).
7. Work with your body as it is
Do nice things for your body. Bathe it in bubbles or relax it in a hot tub. Rest when you’re tired, eat whole, nutritious food. Don’t forget to get loads of fresh air.
Be a friend to your body. Treat it kindly, but also challenge it a little every day to keep it strong and healthy.
Finally, nix all the time spent weighing yourself or tweaking your features. Galvanize your body toward reaching your goals instead.
8. Make peace with food
Eat in a way that is respectful, without guilt and honors your body’s needs. Learn what nutrients are necessary, and mindfully eat what you need to function optimally. Tune in to your digestive health, hormones, and energy levels. Take a holistic approach, staying on top of your mental and physical healthcare needs.
9. Practice gentle touch
Show yourself the kind of gentle, loving care you would want from a loved one. Bathe slowly and enjoy it. Take time to wash and condition your hair with a head massage. Treat yourself to a facial or pedicure. Give yourself some attention because it feels good to do it, not because the beauty industry demands you do it their way.
10. Find your own groove
When you can hold your head high because you’re satisfied to be who you are, you’re ready to get to work fulfilling your life’s purposes. Get creative and passionate about the things that are meaningful to you. Get so busy and excited about your life that your looks are much lower on your list of concerns.
Embrace Body Positivity now. The chin-in-the-air, shoulders-back way you’ll carry yourself afterward will be the best thing you’ve done for your body in a long while.
Take the first step…
If you are ready to address your body image issues and how they may be affecting your life, I would like to help. Please contact me via phone or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, MFT