Now that summer is here, you might be more inclined to focus on your outward appearance, but that could potentially be a mistake. Yet 91% of women dislike their bodies, and/or aspects of their bodies and men have been slowly catching up to such loathing.
If you hate your body, you’re certainly not alone. But like other body loathers, you’ve fallen prey to a culture that prioritizes appearance above all else.
The models in magazines teach us how we’re supposed to look, and we forget that in reality many of them don’t even look like themselves after hours of hair and makeup, and the refined touch of Photoshop. We might know this intuitively, but of course this falls to the wayside when we become critical of ourselves.
While it is important to care of yourself, both mentally and physically, you don’t have to look like the unrealistic images of models to feel good about yourself. Just follow these simple tips to make the second half of 2018 the year you finally embrace your true home — being healthy in your body, mind and spirit.
- Focus on Function. Your body exists to keep you alive, not to conform to others’ expectations for what you should look like. Rather than thinking about the way you look, begin thinking about what your body can do. Every time you find yourself beating yourself up over your flabby stomach, for instance, think about how that stomach nurtured a child, helps support your back, or has never failed to properly digest your food. What matters is what your body can do. So if you want to improve your body, focus on its many blessings, not just appearance.
- Ditch the Fashion Rags. People who read fashion magazines report higher degrees of self-loathing and are more likely to try to conform to an unrealistic image of beauty. Get rid of these toxic sources of self-loathing, and you may see your body in a whole new light. If you have young children, you can instill in them a dose of healthy self-esteem to boot.
- Nourish Your Body from Within. While moderation is the true key here, occasional indulgence in traditionally unhealthy foods is very healthy. Most of the time, feed your body with nourishing foods that will help keep your energy up, make you feel happy, and in a good mood. One’s diet has a profound effect not just on our physical, but also our mental well-being. Never underestimate the power of good bedtime sleep hygiene, and the power of a balanced diet on your state of mind, at least most of the time.
- Do Something Nice for Your Body. That means something that leaves you feeling great. A massage, a rewarding hike, or a long and hot bath can do wonders for your mind and self-image. Just make sure you choose something that makes your body feel good on the inside, and not just look good.
- Think of Your Body as a Close Friend. Your body has been there with you through every moment of your life. It has seen your triumphs and failures and never left your side. Your body is your best friend. Begin thinking of it this way and you may be surprised to see how quickly your self-loathing takes a hike, and your penchant for unrealistic perfectionism begins to wane.
- Nurture Your Talents. Many people, especially women fall into a dangerous habit of focusing solely on their appearance. In a world where superficial traits can reign supreme, it’s easy to feel like what matters most is the way you look. Developing a new talent — or honing an old one — helps you realize that you’re much more than your appearance. Be bold and brave, and take a new class you have been interested in, or break out your paints and crafting supplies. Not only will doing so take your mind off of anything superficial, it will also make it clear how trivial, and unimportant the way you look really is, because as the famous aphorism notes, beauty is truly skin deep.