Body Image Health — Top Ten Reminders
- Start being more curious and less critical regarding how you feel about your body — look for any clues that might connect you to what your body is trying to say instead of “I am too xxxxxx”.
- Explore patterns and themes in your body’s life — parts of the body that you focus on more and/or you suspect “hold” part of your history, experiences and beliefs about yourself.
- Learn more about your triggers: people, places and activities that may lead you to be more self-critical and/or feel more negative about yourself. How can you minimize your exposure to them, or at least, find ways to protect yourself? Also pay attention to where you feel the most attractive, comfortable, and confident — and think about how to build on that.
- Let jealousy be your teacher: learn more about what and who makes you jealous and what you perceive these traits or qualities could offer you. What do they have that you want, and what keeps you from having it?
- Practice patience. “Notice more and judge less” is a great way to try and retrain your brain, so that it has a choice about how it thinks about you. When you are aware that you are in a really negative space, try and notice it, rather than spiraling off into discouraging thoughts – and practice trusting that it will pass.
- Understand that the media has trained us to base our worth on an image. And it is ourperception of this image that we can take responsibility for and try and shift. When we feel somehow ugly — we feel ugly — it doesn’t mean that we are.
- When you are stuck in a ‘bad body image moment’, any way that you can get out of your head and into your body is a good thing, even if it is scary or uncomfortable. This could be as simple as moving if you tend to get still, or sit still if you tend to move to check out. It could also mean listening to music or taking a bath. The objective is to step away from the negative thoughts.
- Remember that everyone has a complex relationship with his or her body and that it changes all the time, sometimes in a matter of minutes. Like all relationships, it takes work and focus and love and patience. Your relationship with your body is unavoidable and one of the most intimate relationships we have. Investing time and energy into this relationship is important for everyone.
- As much as you can, try and think of yourself as a three-dimensional body rather than a two-dimensional image, like those seen in a magazine. Your self-care needs to reflect ALL of you — not just the parts of you that somehow don’t look or feel right in a particular moment.
- Use your resources. Talk to trusted friends and mentors about your experiences in your body, both internally and externally. Perhaps you can share your thoughts about how you hope to improve your relationship with your body. Create more language and community around self-care and balance — whatever self-care means for you at this time.
The Body Self
“If you want to find the answers to the Big Questions about your soul, you’d best begin with the Little Answers about your body.”