by Jenna Jonaitis, Contributing writer
Feeling good and confident about your body in a world where we’re inundated with images of what we “should” look like can leave us feeling less than the magnificent beauties we are. Self love is important.
Practice self love for your body
The truth is, your genetics, ethnicity, medical conditions, and childhood experiences play a huge role in your body shape — not just what you eat and how much you exercise. So wouldn’t it be great if we could accept ourselves more and love the body we have today?
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to boost self-acceptance and self-love. These practices take time, but are incredibly worthwhile. When we feel good about ourselves, our mental and physical wellbeing improves. We also feel more confident socially and sexually.
Here are a few tips for loving and accepting your body — today and at any stage.
A lot of what we believe about our bodies is learned — through society, social media, and other conditioning. We don’t always have control over the messages we hear, especially the ones that were told to us as kids and adolescents. But what we do have control over, is our internal dialogue and how we frame the situation in our minds.
Reframing is a practice that can help you rework how your brain feels about your body. It works by altering your perspective and replacing negative patterns of thinking. You can do it by yourself or with the help of a therapist.
Ask questions to reframe: is there another way for me to think about a part of my body? Rather than believing my thighs are too big, I can think of them as strong. How about my lack of curves? Let me reframe my body as slender and sensual.
Talk to yourself like your best friend would
We usually act as our own harshest critics. Instead, think about what you’d say to a friend in a similar situation. If she was feeling down about her body, what uplifting words would you offer? Adopt that positive, supportive talk for yourself.
Focus on what you’re doing well
Rather than telling yourself that you aren’t making strides or that you’ll never look how you want, think about the positive steps you are taking. Whether it’s drinking more water or taking a walk with a friend, remind yourself of the little things you do that make you feel like you.
Add positive affirmations to your daily routine
Positive affirmations are statements that feed our brains healthy perspectives and mental images — ultimately boosting our confidence and the beliefs we have about ourselves. Create positive affirmations to retrain the voice inside your head. Choose a simple phrase like, “I am beautiful always,” or “My body is strong and full of wonder.”
By repeating — and believing — your affirmations throughout the day, you’ll start feeling the truth in them. Repetition is key, so post a sticky note on your bathroom mirror, say your affirmation 10 times as you prep dinner, or include the statement in your meditation.
Go beyond self-care
Find activities that center you and allow you to shower yourself with love. Whether it’s learning how to style your hair in a new way or lathering on a cleansing face mask, make your body a priority. Do things you genuinely enjoy and that show your body appreciation.
Check yourself out
While it might seem silly at first, stand in front of the mirror and notice all the things you admire. Do you love your eyes? Your curves? Your hair? After lathering on the praise, you’ll be feeling even better in your own skin.
On a good hair day or when you’re feeling glamorous, take fun photos of yourself. The visual reminder can be a positive way to retrain your brain to see all your beauty. Further boosting the love you have for your beautiful self. You can also look back on the photos whenever you need another boost.
Dress for comfort and confidence
Go through your closet and part ways with items that don’t fit right or that you no longer enjoy wearing. Focus on keeping clothes that make you feel confident and beautiful. When your budget allows, add to your select collection.
Scale back on scrolling
While social media has a lot of pluses, it can also have a negative impact on our self-esteem and emotional wellbeing. Replace scrolling with a healthy habit like reading a book, watching a movie, or chatting with a friend on the phone. You’ll be surprised how better you feel after less time looking at Instagram-perfected moments.
Seek healthy support
If there are people who make you feel less than beautiful, set boundaries or even consider phasing them out of your social circle. This is also a huge part of self love. While this may seem harsh, who you spend time with makes a huge impact on how you feel. Surround yourself with family and friends who make you feel lovable, worthy, and beautiful — because you are.
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- “Factors Affecting Weight & Health.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. February 2018. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/adult-overweight-obesity/factors-affecting-weight-health.
- Jackson, Tim. “Reframing: Coping strategies for resilient leaders.” Medium. Medium. January 4, 2020. https://medium.com/@jacksonlead/reframing-coping-strategies-for-resilient-leaders-eed62b2ce3c6.
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- Murdock, Jason. “Humans Have More than 6,000 Thoughts per Day, Psychologists Discover.” Newsweek. Newsweek. July 15, 2020. https://www.newsweek.com/humans-6000-thoughts-every-day-1517963.
- “Positive Reframing and Examining the Evidence.” Harvard University. The President and Fellows of Harvard College. 2021. https://sdlab.fas.harvard.edu/cognitive-reappraisal/positive-reframing-and-examining-evidence.
- Raypole, Crystal. “Positive Affirmations: Too Good to Be True?” Healthline. Healthline Media. September 1, 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/do-affirmations-work.