As a human, you’ve probably had days where you’ve struggled with your body image. Even if you’ve built a brand on body diversity or feel confident in all you’ve worked through – you will have days when you feel very aware of your body and maybe even uncomfortable in it – and that doesn’t make you a fraud or failure.
Bad body image days will happen – intrusive thoughts may sneak in (ugh I hate the way my belly looks in this dress, I can’t wear this top with the way my arms look, etc). You’re not responsible for your first thought. But you are for your second. You can use these as learning experiences – opportunities to apply what you’ve learned or to notice certain scenarios, media, people, etc that prompt these reactions in you.
When feelings of discomfort in your body arise, try these three tips to self-soothe and ground yourself:
- Wear comfy clothes
If you’re very aware of your body, sometimes the last thing you want to be doing is wearing something that feels tight or you’re uncomfortable in – it can just cause you to fixate on certain areas and spiral. Instead, try changing into some comfortable clothes that will help to shift your attention away from your body and picking it apart.
Often times social media and the entertainment we consume idealizes the thin body standard and we find ourselves steeped in comparison. Without realizing it, we can start to feel so bad about our bodies because they don’t look like what appears on our screens. Taking a break from social media – for an hour, day, week, months, or more – is a good way to “reset” and remind yourself that you and your body exist in the world. There’s a whole world of real, flawed and great people beyond your screen and you don’t have to squeeze yourself to fit in that tiny box. Unplugging gives your mind some space to breathe and process.
- Practise body neutrality
When you’re struggling with your body image “loving your body” or “body positivity” can feel inauthentic and sometimes downright laughable. Try something more attainable with body neutrality – think of your body and the purpose it serves (e.g. you arms allow you to hold your children or hug loved ones). You don’t have to assign a value – good or bad – but can recognize the crucial purpose your body serves in keeping you alive as a human on this earth.
If you’re looking to dive deeper into processing your feelings around body image, try the following journaling prompts as a start:
- What factors around me are causing me to look at my body with judgment?
- What is an AND statement I can add to the end of these intrusive thoughts to better serve me? For example – I feel uncomfortable with how my stomach looks in this dress AND I know that it does not dictate my worth.
- What’s one kind thing I can do for my body right now? (e.g. nourish it, give myself a hug, go for a walk, stretch, etc.)
If you’re interested in learning more about body image and how to process it, reach out to our practice for a free consultation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Maddy Weingast, Assistant for Wildflower Therapy LLC