5 Tips for Positive Body Image
In today’s society, our bodies are taken to be the enemy. Society tells us of our bodies flaws, it’s ‘problem areas’. It gives us names for these areas, gives us ‘solutions’ and encourages us to take care of it. The real problem here? There was no real flaw to fix in the first place.
Having positive body image and body confidence in today’s world of media and beauty and ‘health’ commercialism is almost impossible. We hold ourselves to the media’s impossible standards for what our body should look like. Impossible ideals that we berate ourselves for not attaining, no matter their plausibility. We spend our time in the mirror breaking ourselves down when we should be building ourselves back up.
Here are a few tips for working on positive body image. These are my personal go-to methods.
1. Wear what feels comfortable and works for you.
There will always be fashion trends that come and go, and unfortunately far too many women and girls feel the pressure to dress to the trend and style, even if they don’t like the clothes or don’t feel comfortable wearing them. By succumbing to the pressure, we subject ourselves to the heightened anxiety and stress that comes along with getting dressed in these ‘trendy’ clothes. The process so often will go like this: get dressed, stand in front of a mirror, point out and evaluate how the outfit looks from every angle on every inch of your body.
So instead of subjecting yourself to the anxiety and distress of keeping up with trendy clothes, choose to wear what you feel good in, choose to wear what works for you and your body.
2. Seek out body-positive role models
There are plenty enough of people in our lives who don’t have a positive body image and do not work to be more kind and gentle with themselves and their body image. Consider distancing yourself from those who have a more negative outlook on body image and those who may make jokes or make you more critical of yourself. Instead of surrounding yourself with more of these examples, actively seek out people within your own world who have a more positive body image or look to role models in the emerging body positive community online. Check out my article on MCXV for 10 body positive Instagram accounts to follow.
Be aware and turn your attention to those who actively promote healthy body positivity and work to fight against societal stereotypes and norms.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others
Bodies come in all shapes, sizes, heights, varieties, etc. We constantly use comparison as a measure to gauge ourselves. But here's the secret, we don't need to compare our bodies to other bodies. Bodies look different, that's okay. The work is around accepting your body as it is, not trying to force it to be something else, or berating your body because it isn't what you want.
Maybe that means unfollowing some of those accounts on Insta that make you feel terrible about yourself and your body. Take to your social media and do a bit of 'spring cleaning'. Or, if you find social media altogether is influencing your body image and mental health, consider taking a break. *gasp* I know, that's a novel idea these days, isn't it?
4. Treat your body with the same respect you treat others
We are often so much harder on ourselves and our bodies than we are on others. When you criticize yourself or your body, pause, and consider if you would say that to your best friend. If the answer is no, choose to move away from the criticism and choose to treat yourself with the same respect you treat others with.
5. Acknowledge your body's strengths and practice gratitude
Actively choose to focus on what your body can do rather than what it can’t. Focus on the strengths of your body and what it allows you to do. Make a list of these strengths to look at when you’re having a hard day. Practice gratitude towards your body and all that it does to help you live your life and do the things you do each day. Is that easy to say? Yes. Is it easy to actually do? Hell no. Practice some patience and give yourself compassion, but still try and actively choose to appreciate what your body can do.
What are your go-to tips for working on positive body image? Share the love and ideas in the comments below!