Where the Science of Psychology Meets the Art of Being Human

Love Your Body. 4 Steps to a Positive Body Image

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Beauty is more than body measurements, thigh gaps and cheekbones. It always has been. I, for one, never agreed to any rules that suggested it was otherwise. But I have at times found myself caught up in the propaganda.

How would your life be different if knew that you were beautiful? Not just knew it, but felt it so deeply and so fully that you didn’t even know it was a matter of choice. What if it was built into your bones and as much a part of you as your DNA?

Time to make it happen because we deserve nothing less …

  1. Fake it ‘til you make it.

    Act as though you love who you are – bumps, curves and all. How would you stand? How would you move? Assume the confidence. Even if you don’t believe it at first, act as though it’s true. Eventually your mind will catch up and believe in it for real. Honestly. Some of the most remarkably beautiful women have curves and cellulite (think Marilyn Monroe, Adele). What they have in common is confidence (which is astoundingly different to arrogant or conceited) and there is nothing more beautiful than that. Try it. There’s absolutely nothing to lose.

     

  2. Stop avoiding and start enjoying your body.

    Avoidance breeds avoidance. Your body is the only one you have and deserves your nurturance, pampering and protection. Get to know your body and embrace all of it. Spend some time naked. Lay around listening to music. Look at your naked body. Touch it, pamper it, be kind to it. Own your bumps, curves and dints with grace and affection – and don’t let anybody, especially you – sell you the idea that your less than for having them there. 

     

  1. Self compassion.

    Be kind to yourself in the face of disappointment. Treat yourself the way you would treat a best friend. You deserve the same kindness and respect. Research has shown that the more self-compassion you have in response to disappointments in your life, the more likely it is that you’ll have a positive body image. The compassion will spill into the way you treat your body. 

     

  1. Ditch the witch.

    Lose the critic in your head who smack talks your body. Accept your body – all of it. Look at what you can do because it works damn hard for you, not the least of which is in keeping you alive. You wouldn’t keep somebody around if they were rambling on about the way you look all the time. They’d be miserable company and you would know you deserve better. You can’t get away from yourself, so best make it a happy union.

Loving the skin you’re in isn’t easy if you’ve spent a lot of time being down on it. Embrace your body because of your curves, not despite them. You have always been enough. We don’t have to agree with the messages of a paper thin photo shopped world that would have us believe that bodies should be catwalk skinny. It’s a manipulation and it’s time to decide it’s a lie. We are fine – no, so much more than fine – phenomenal, capable, beautiful – exactly the way we are.

For ways to nurture a positive body image in kids and teens, see here.

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Hey Warrior - A book about anxiety in children.








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Anxiety comes with a story, ‘I feel as though so Anxiety comes with a story, ‘I feel as though something bad is going to happen so something bad must be going to happen.’ This story makes sense, but it will drive fight or flight behaviour that can hold them back. This might look like avoidance, aggression, resistance, refusal, sick tummies, headaches, tears, tantrums.
.
When we change the story, we change the response. To do this, we need to present anxiety as an ally that ‘works hard to keep you safe, but sometimes it just works a little too hard.’ .

Here’s how it works: When the amygdala senses something that might be a threat, it surges us with a powerful neurochemical cocktail to make us more powerful, stronger, faster, more alert, more able to fight or flee the threat. This drives every physical symptom that comes with anxiety. It’s the brain and body doing exactly what they are meant to do, but at a time they don’t need to. .

Not everything the brain senses as a threat is actually a threat. Brains are smart, but they can be a little overprotective sometimes. Brains will do anything to keep us alive - it’s why we love them so much - but sometimes they will work too hard.
.
The problem is that the physiology is so persuasive. It feels like we’re in danger, which can make even the strongest of minds believe it to be true. The key is to help them see anxiety for what it is - a warning, not a stop sign. .
⠀⠀
We can strengthen them by nurturing a felt sense inside them that lets them feel bigger in the presence of anxiety - because they can feel anxious and do brave. We do this by presenting anxiety as something that is there to look after them, and something they can manage.
⠀⠀
Anxiety is there to hold them back from danger but it was never meant to hold them back. We know they are capable of big things, every one of them. Now to shift anxiety out of their way so they can know it too.

Anxiety comes with a story, ‘I feel as though something bad is going to happen so something bad must be going to happen.’ This story makes sense, but it will drive fight or flight behaviour that can hold them back. This might look like avoidance, aggression, resistance, refusal, sick tummies, headaches, tears, tantrums.
.
When we change the story, we change the response. To do this, we need to present anxiety as an ally that ‘works hard to keep you safe, but sometimes it just works a little too hard.’ .

Here’s how it works: When the amygdala senses something that might be a threat, it surges us with a powerful neurochemical cocktail to make us more powerful, stronger, faster, more alert, more able to fight or flee the threat. This drives every physical symptom that comes with anxiety. It’s the brain and body doing exactly what they are meant to do, but at a time they don’t need to. .

Not everything the brain senses as a threat is actually a threat. Brains are smart, but they can be a little overprotective sometimes. Brains will do anything to keep us alive - it’s why we love them so much - but sometimes they will work too hard.
.
The problem is that the physiology is so persuasive. It feels like we’re in danger, which can make even the strongest of minds believe it to be true. The key is to help them see anxiety for what it is - a warning, not a stop sign. .
⠀⠀
We can strengthen them by nurturing a felt sense inside them that lets them feel bigger in the presence of anxiety - because they can feel anxious and do brave. We do this by presenting anxiety as something that is there to look after them, and something they can manage.
⠀⠀
Anxiety is there to hold them back from danger but it was never meant to hold them back. We know they are capable of big things, every one of them. Now to shift anxiety out of their way so they can know it too.
...







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