How can we learn to embrace, respect and LOVE our bodies? Poor body image can have a significant impact on our quality of life and how we feel about ourselves. Below are 6 strategies to help you on the journey to self-love, acceptance and body confidence.
When you start to engage in negative self-talk, ask yourself "Would I speak to my best friend, mum or daughter that way?" Or how would you respond if you heard someone saying that about themselves? Try your best to become aware of this language and replace it with something positive. Also be mindful of any negative self-talk you might discuss with friends or family.2. Find exercise you love.
Exercise is a mood booster and releases endorphins. Engaging in regular physical activity that we love not only helps us feel good, but can help the way we think about and treat our bodies. It can help us focus on what our bodies can do and make us feel hella strong. Also, research has shown that people who exercise regularly feel better about their bodies no matter their size.3. Talk about exercise!
Research has shown that when women talk about exercise (as opposed to nutrition, weight loss or appearance) amongst friends they show less dissatisfaction with their bodies. Talking about exercise has shown to have a positive effect, it allows women to think about what their bodies can do rather than focusing on what they look like. So, next time you get together with your friends share your physical activities and talk about how your workout went!
4. Stop avoiding your body.
Spend more time in front of the mirror. I know this can sound daunting; a lot of women who aren't comfortable with their bodies actively avoid their reflection. Stand in front of the mirror and pick one part of your body you love, and say aloud why. For example, "I love my legs because they allow me to walk to work every day", or "I love my arms because I was able to complete more reps at the gym today". Practise this regularly and pay attention to what happens to your inner dialogue over time.
5. Look good, feel good.
There is truth to the saying that if we feel good externally, we feel good internally - which can also boost our self-esteem and confidence. Ask yourself, what makes you feel good? Is it wearing your favourite lipstick, going completely au naturel, wearing your favourite boots, painting your nails? Whatever it is, whatever makes you feel fab - do it!
Becoming aware of what we are exposing ourselves to on social media can have a huge impact on how we feel. Remember that what we see is often an inaccurate representation of people's lives - it's photoshopped, or 99 photos were taken before the one being posted. If we start to increase our awareness of this, we can retrain our brains.
It may take some time and practise.
As always, be kind and compassionate to yourself on the journey to body confidence, and good luck!