For many women, self-love and body image go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, there is a belief that when you achieve a certain look, size, number on the scale, then you will be happy with yourself. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Ironically, this mentality can be a desire for freedom, but know that you can feel free now. In fact, you can set yourself free and love the skin you’re in.
Have you ever looked back at old pictures and wished you could go back and just be happy in that moment? According to CBS News 97 percent of women have a negative body image. It’s never too late to change the course of your behavior and how you see yourself. The key in this mindset shift begins with recognizing the need for change, and how it can provide a better quality of life.
Below are tips to to help you start finding appreciation and love for your body today:
Be kind to yourself. This includes both how you think about yourself and speak to yourself. Avoid making statements like “I am so fat” or “She is prettier than me.” These words – even if not spoken aloud, but merely thought – can break you down over time and cause mental stress. Try swapping out negative thoughts with words that can fill up your cup. Catching yourself in the moment is the first step. Once you are able to recognize the behavior, switch out the damaging thoughts with uplifting affirmations.
We are all familiar with being thankful for things we have in our lives but what about showing gratitude and appreciation specifically to our bodies? Joyce Shulman is Co-Founder and CEO of 99 Walks says ”Loving your body begins by focusing on the beauty of what it can do, rather than measuring how it looks against some arbitrary ideal. We must develop a practice of body gratitude.” Shulman goes on to say that by writing down three things about your body for which you are grateful for, you can start a beautiful practice. When it comes to what you love there are no rules! Joyce suggests noticing the nice shape of your fingers or thanking your legs for enjoying a morning walk. The key here is consistency!
Wasting time focusing on everything you want to change about yourself is better well spent on focusing on all the things in your control. For example, admire your legs in a different way, focus on the strength versus the flaws you want to correct. Incorporating activities like mirror work will help you reach acceptance. “Mirror work is a unique, new age type of practice where you meet your reflection in the mirror and send yourself loving, self-affirming affirmations, and even open up a conversation with yourself as if you’re speaking with a dear friend,” says empowerment coach and astrologer Natalia Benson.
Moving your body is such a strong piece of puzzle when it comes to loving your body. The simple act of walking can help to connect to your muscles and build a great sense of gratitude for what your body can do! Just think if you walk 30-40 minutes a day at 3-5 times a week can help regrow the structures of the brain linked to cognitive decline in older adults. Movement practices such as yoga can also help you connect with your body in a more loving and compassionate way.
Just remember: being kind to yourself and learning to let go goes a long way when it comes to loving your body.