In today’s society, which is ruled by social media’s unrealistic expectations, it isn’t difficult to get swept up in an unfavorable pattern of thoughts, particularly where our bodies are concerned. We are always criticizing and pushing ourselves to become our best possible selves, but we forget to be good to ourselves. This usually impedes the growth we are trying to achieve.
Below are some good body-positive habits to work into your day-to-day routine that will help you develop a newfound appreciation for yourself.
1. Remember How Much Fun It Is to Exercise
As a child, you moved for fun, and that was all. Regardless if you were climbing trees, swimming, riding your bike, dancing or playing tag, when you were a kid you knew the pleasure of movement. The thought of burning calories never entered your mind.
Apply that same principle to your current life. Start exercising just for the fun of it again. Do you enjoy dancing? Perhaps you love to swim or there is a sport you enjoy.
Don’t exercise out of obligation to burn calories; make your exercise about enjoying yourself and having fun. Also, enjoy the mental-health benefits of exercise, such as the tremendous sense of well-being that it gives you. On top of that, studies show that exercise effectively treats anxiety, stress and mild-to-moderate depression primarily due to the release of endorphins.
2. Intuitive Eating
An article on the NEDA blog recommends intuitive eating. Many people are confused about what this means exactly. First, intuitive eating is not a means of losing or gaining weight. There is more to intuitive eating than just eating when hungry or stopping when full. Most importantly, it doesn’t mean that you can eat anything you want.
Intuitive eating means to have faith in your inner body wisdom to make food choices that feel good and to do so without judgment or outside influence, especially from diet culture. Those who eat intuitively are more likely to enjoy good mental health, emotional awareness, life satisfaction, self-compassion, self-esteem and optimism.
3. Spend Two Minutes Looking in the Mirror
It isn’t unusual to habitually avoid mirrors while dressing or undressing or when getting in and out of the shower. Make a deliberate decision to look at yourself in the mirror after getting undressed. Take a good look at yourself. If you’re not fond of your appearance, no problem; just take note and acknowledge that you are physically there.
Do this for a couple of minutes each day, and maintain an awareness of any negative self-talk that comes to mind. This is an important step toward improving your self-image, which in turn boosts self-esteem. High self-esteem is vital to good mental health.
4. Be Thankful for One Physical Feature
Although concentrating on your flaws might come naturally, being thankful makes you identify which of your features you like best, as well as your body’s true capabilities.
This practice can be combined with looking at yourself in the mirror for two minutes each day. Identify one physical aspect of yourself that you like and explain to yourself why you are thankful for it. Each day, pick a new feature. As you get to the ones you don’t care for, you will be challenged to change your viewpoint on a conscious level.
5. Treat Yourself
One of the best ways to appreciate your body? Practice self-care. It’s been shown that when people do something nice for themselves they get a boost in their levels of confidence and self-esteem.
Giving yourself a well-deserved treat that is related to your body can help improve your feelings about yourself. Whether it’s buying a new dress that fits just right, getting a nice manicure or going for a relaxing massage, doing something you enjoy will lower your stress and increase self-love.
6. Exchange Five Minutes of Unhealthy Media for Five Minutes of Body-Positive Media
We’re constantly bombarded with messages and images both on the internet and conventional media that result in our having unfavorable perceptions of our bodies. Of course, you cannot possibly control it. However, you can engage in practices to decrease exposure to it.
Rather than browsing through pics of supermodels on social media, or constantly watching television shows that glorify a particular body type, look for media that’s body positive or neutral. Eventually, it should be your goal to completely replace one type of negative media with a positive one.
7. Consider Your Actions
Consider how you interact with yourself and with others, as this can have a big impact on the role of body kindness in your life. Of course, it’s good to stay current with companies that endorse body positivity and subscribe to body-positive blogs, but you also need to consider what kindness and body positivity mean to you. If something or someone in your life brings you negative vibes, it might not be a good idea to keep it or them around, this includes people you follow on social media.
If you’re the type of person who often makes remarks to yourself or others about the way a person looks, you should consider reevaluating how you think. Instead of concentrating on the negatives or positives of how a person looks, consider finding out more about the person.
Don’t just compliment someone and leave it at that; strike up a discussion about what you liked. Whenever you catch yourself judging a person based on their looks, step back and consider what you are doing and why.
8. Get Rid of Your Scale and Find Other Ways to Determine Health Goals
What clues you in that you are healthy? What clues you in that you are sick? Is it possible for you to make your own guide to keep in tune with your health, as you see it?
This could include notes about your sleep quality, digestion, blood pressure, cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, moods and so on. List all of the things that you believe are important and formulate a plan to keep track of them.
9. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Getting the right amount of sleep is vital to well-being and good health. Getting an adequate amount of quality sleep when needed can help to safeguard both your physical and mental health as well as impact your quality of life.
When you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t function as well as you normally do. Lack of sleep also affects your moods and your confidence. That is why settling into a good routine at night is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.