The way you think about, feel, and relate to your body is very important. How you view yourself in your mind or when looking at yourself in a mirror or picture is your body image. Other people, outside messaging and your surroundings can all influence your perception of your body—for better or worse.
It’s important to reflect on how you can improve the way you relate to your body. Doing so may mean you decide to unfollow certain social media accounts or that you practice assertiveness with loved ones who make well-intentioned, but damaging comments about your appearance.
Improving body image is an intentional practice that requires effort and time, and even as things improve, bad body days (experiencing discomfort in your body or dissatisfaction with how you look and feel) still happen. No one feels good about their body all day, every day. Here are EIGHT ways you can start practicing self-love today.
1. Practice an attitude of gratitude.
Appreciate your body for all it does. Every day your body carries you closer to your goals. Celebrate all of the amazing things your body does for you: from running and dancing to breathing, laughing and dreaming (just to name a few).
2. Keep a list of the top 10 things you like about yourself.
What positive qualities do you possess? Focus on your inner qualities and not on your physical appearance. Write a list and keep it where you can see it—such as your phone or bathroom mirror—so you can read it often and refocus. Add to it as you become aware of more things you like about yourself.
3. Remind yourself that beauty is not seen but known.
Beauty is beyond what the eye can see. When you feel better about who you are, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self-acceptance and openness. Beauty is a state of mind, not a reflection in the mirror or number on the scale.
4. Remember: Your health extends beyond what’s physical.
When you see yourself, choose not to focus on specific body parts but rather see yourself as you want others to see you — as a whole person. Think about some of the other aspects of your wellness journey, and (for right now) ignore the physical element of health like diet and exercise. What have you done lately to improve your social health? When was the last time you invested in your intellectual health and learned something new? How is your spiritual health? Spiritual health can involve meditation, immersing yourself in nature, or practicing a religion/belief. All of these things matter when it comes to your overall well-being and how you view yourself. When you begin to view your own health as multifaceted (and more than the number of veggies you ate or the number on the scale) you can start to identify changes in behavior that matter to you.
5. Find a positive support system.
It is easier to feel good about yourself when you are around others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of appreciating you just as you are.
6. Quiet your inner critic.
Shut down (or at least quiet down) any voices in your head that tell you your body is not acceptable or that you are somehow a lesser person because of your outward appearance. You have the ability to override negative thoughts with positive ones. The next time you start to tear yourself down, build yourself back up with a few quick affirmations that work for you.
7. Thoughtfully evaluate social and media messages.
Pay attention to images, slogans or attitudes that make you feel negative about yourself or your body and eliminate them or minimize your exposure to them. Rather than celebrating size diversity, the media often promotes the thin ideal. Be conscious of the media you consume and limit the media messages that make you feel inadequate. If you feel strongly about certain messages or advertisements, contact the company and voice your opinion.
8. Practice self-care.
Do something to let your body know you appreciate it. Take a walk, make time for a nap or find a peaceful place relax.
It takes work to transform negative thoughts about your body into positive body image. This list is a good first step to introduce healthier ways of how you look at and feel about yourself and your body. You may find that by going through this process, you have many quirks and qualities to acknowledge and affirm.
Your Profile Coach can be part of your support system as you work toward body positivity. Your coach is available to help you on your journey toward self-care. Not a Profile member? Click here to set up a FREE one-on-one, no obligation consultation with a certified coach at your nearest Profile location.