October 15, 2014

10 ways to improve your body image

10 ways to improve your body image

Low self-esteem and long-standing negative core beliefs can often fuel negative thought patterns of your body image and appearance. The first step to creating a positive body image is to question those negative thoughts and introduce yourself to healthier ways of viewing your appearance. The more you practice these new thought patterns, the better equipped you will be to block out you inner mean girl and banish those negative thoughts to create a more positive body image.

Your body image is a function of how you feel about your appearance and how well you feel your body performs and your general health. Some of the cues that influence your body image come from your own perspective and others are affected by social factors. For instance, if you feel that you are strong and capable you will have a better body image than if you feel uncoordinated or weak. Similarly, a chronic illness can cause you to resent your body for causing pain and impeding your life goals.

Another facet of body image, and perhaps the most prevalent negative aspect in society, is your feelings about your appearance. What you view as your appearance is largely determined not by how you feel but by how society defines ideals of physical beauty. Most people who experience body image disturbances are sensitive to these social definitions. They feel that there is a mismatch between how they look and how they "should" look.

The list of techniques below that help to build self esteem are taken from The National Eating Disorders website. They are really helpful ways to second-guess your negative thoughts are shift your perspective, which will help to see your body in a more positive light!

1. Appreciate all that your body can do.  Every day your body carries you closer to your dreams.  Celebrate all of the amazing things your body does for you—running, dancing, breathing, laughing, dreaming, etc.

2. Keep a top-ten list of things you like about yourself—things that aren’t related to how much you weigh or what you look like.  Read your list often.  Add to it as you become aware of more things to like about yourself.

3. Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin deep.  When you feel good about yourself and who you are, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self-acceptance, and openness that makes you beautiful regardless of whether you physically look like a supermodel.  Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body.

4. Look at yourself as a whole person.  When you see yourself in a mirror or in your mind, choose not to focus on specific body parts.  See yourself as you want others to see you–as a whole person.

5. Surround yourself with positive people.  It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of liking yourself just as you naturally are.

6. Shut down those voices in your head that tell you your body is not “right” or that you are a “bad” person.  You can overpower those 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. Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body.  Work with your body, not against it.

8. Become a critical viewer of social and media messages.  Pay attention to images, slogans, or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body.  Protest these messages:  write a letter to the advertiser or talk back to the image or message

9. Do something nice for yourself--something that lets your body know you appreciate it.  Take a bubble bath, make time for a nap, find a peaceful place outside to relax.

10. Use the time and energy that you might have spent worrying about food, calories, and your weight to do something to help others.  Sometimes reaching out to other people can help you feel better about yourself and can make a positive change in our world.

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