“To me, Beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about knowing and accepting who you are” – Ellen Degeneres.
Have you ever wished to change something about your body? If Yes, you are not alone. Many People around you feel unhappy with the way they look. The most common thought among such people are “when will I get in better shape?”, “Will I ever become in good shape?”. Body image is the perception of a person about his or her body i.e., the way they look at their self, how do they assess their height, weight and shape in comparison to the standards of the society. Having a healthy body image is an important part of mental health. Healthy body image means that you truly accept yourself and the way you look right now, and not trying to change your body to fit what you think you should look. It means identifying the qualities and strength that make you feel good about yourself beyond weight, shape, appearance and resisting the pressure to strive for a perfect body that we see in the outside world.
Tips to appreciate your body
- Focus on functionality
Appreciating the things our body does and its complex abilities to heal, love, nurture etc. When you listening to your heart beat you know your heart functions properly and you are happy that you are alive, instead have you ever get worried that how does it look? Same applies for your external organs, you should be glad that it does its function rather concentrating on it size and shape. Focus on the physical capabilities of the body and the bodily sensations you experience.
- Identify the irrational thoughts
Identify the extreme thoughts that aggravate our body image issues and replace it with positive thoughts. Every time you start to berate yourself with negative thoughts, silently think of the healthy positive thoughts. Consulting a professional (Counselor, Psychologist, Psychotherapist) would be of great help.
- Stop Comparing yourself to others
We are all unique and different in our own ways. Comparing our body to that of others isn’t right and can lead to psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, sleeplessness and lack of control. Love your body for what it is and what it can become if you lead a healthy life. Comparing our body to what it previously was and how we have contributed in improving it helps in having a positive body image. Feeling better about one’s body contributes to positive outlook and confidence.
- Build a support system
Surrounding our self with people who love us the way we are is important. It helps when there are people to cheer and help to avoid the undesirable habits. Having an exercise partner or a healthy food partner will tremendously contribute to work towards having positive body image. Positive relationships help in improving self-esteem. Ignore the comments made by people who purposely trying to put you down. Self-confidence plays the magic.
- Treat yourself as you do others
Don’t bash yourself for the way you look. Be gentle, patient and start loving yourself. Change takes time and the more you accept yourself the better it becomes. Treat yourself the way you would treat others. Compliment yourself time and again, by doing so you realize the inner strengths. Being compassionate is the key to happiness.
- Exercise to feel good
Exercise not for a better body but to feel good. Exercising for fun makes us want to do more and is good for our wellbeing, stress relief and the overall health. Do not feel depressed about not losing weight. When we are active, we release endorphins that makes us feel good and engages our minds. Swimming, Aerobics, cycling, walking, Yoga etc., helps get clarity, reduce anxiety, integrates body and mind, improves and supports overall mental health.
- Treat yourself to the special outfit
Do not wait to wear the clothes you want to until you lose weight. Feel like wearing something, wear it right away. The right outfit can lift our spirits and raise the confidence levels. Wear clothes that remind you of how amazing you are.
- Take control
Take responsibility of your body and the way you feel about yourself. Don’t let others demean you. Do things that you feel needs to be done for you to be happy. By being cautious of the kind of food you take instead of cribbing about your body shape. If you desire to make your body fit, then don’t postpone the things you need to do towards it. It’s in your hand to do it right instead of over doing.
Accepting self is the key to our well-being and also be patient for changes to happen in you. Nobody is perfect but we all can strive towards becoming better every day. Your character and behavior make who you are and not your outer appearance. Mold your inner self of which you are absolutely in control than worrying too much of your appearance which is 50% genetics and only the rest 50% you are in control.