Have you ever looked in the mirror and not liked what you saw?
Have you thought that you're not as tall as the models or that you have a bigger stomach or smaller buttocks than most celebrities?
I had similar thoughts, but they weren't healthy or positive. Over time, I found some simple yet effective ways to develop a positive body image.
What is body image?
"Body image refers to how an individual sees their body and their feelings with this perception." It's the mental picture we have of ourselves, including our appearance, size, and shape.
A positive body image is important for several reasons:
It will enhance your mental well-being and overall happiness.
You'll build your self-confidence.
You'll be able to form a healthier and more meaningful relationship with your own body.
What is a positive and negative body image?
You have a positive body image when you:
Feel happy about your body.
Have balanced self-confidence.
Focus on physical, emotional, and mental self-care.
You have a negative body image when you:
Avoid certain people or situations because of how they make you feel about your body.
Compare your body with others.
Feel insecure about your weight/height etc, believing that you're not attractive enough.
If you think you have a negative body image, don't worry! You have the power to improve your negative body image by taking proactive steps.
Nathan always engages in extreme dieting and excessive exercise to achieve a certain body shape. His friends keep telling him that his body doesn't look like theirs. What type of body image does Nathan have?
1. Surround yourself with positive influences!
Rampant negative thoughts often raced through my head until my late twenties, when I realized that they significantly impacted my daily life.
It was necessary to identify which thoughts were positive and which ones were negative regarding body image and to become aware of them by documenting them whenever they surfaced.
So every time thoughts came up, Istopped, wrote them down, and placed them in their respective categories. After identifying my thoughts, I realized that I had to change the way I viewed my body.
I also noticed that the people I was surrounding myself with were influencing how I saw myself. So I carefully chose my social circle.
If someone criticizes you about your weight, height, shape, etc, maybe they're not the people you want to keep around for the long run.
Talking to your family members and close friends. This can help you develop your self-awareness, and assess the emotions they generate in you and the type of body image they promote.
Joining clubs or your local community where you can share your experiences and ideas about the topic with others.
Reading articles on how to develop a positive body image.
2. Practice positive self-talk
As I started incorporating positive self-talk into my daily routine, I experienced a significant shift in my mindset from self-criticism to self-acceptance and appreciation.
As Marisa Peer, a bestselling author, and therapist, says, "Tell yourself a better lie."So I "lied", at first.
I found the positive in all the negative words I used for my body before. Then, every time a negative thought came up, I began to replace it with a positive one. I started small, and as I saw the changes, I added more positive words.
Here are some examples of positive self-talk I applied:
"I am enough."
"My body is perfect as it is."
"My body functions very well."
Positive self-talk will help you discover a new truth!
3. Focus on self-care
I practiced self-care, which plays a crucial role in cultivating a positive body image.
One practice that has been particularly helpful for me is a 10-minute meditation before going to bed combined with positive self-talk. I've noticed a remarkable improvement in my overall body image and self-confidence.
Journaling, as it positively impacts your overall mental and well-being health by decreasing stress and processing your thoughts and emotions.
Immersing yourself in activities you enjoy. This can help to improve your self-esteem and create a positive and uplifting environment that encourages self-acceptance.
Developing a positive body image is a journey that takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and celebrate the progress you make along the way.