If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you struggle with your body image. You’re not alone. Many people have negative body thoughts, causing them to feel insecure about themselves daily. And while turning those bad thoughts into positive ones won’t happen overnight, it’s something you should work toward.
Adopting healthy beliefs about yourself, especially your body, can help you become a more confident and happy person. In this article, we share five tips to restore a positive body image:
#1. Change What You Can
The truth is, no one is perfect. While the media likes to portray beauty in a certain way, it’s not realistic. Everyone is different, and that’s what makes the world such a great place.
Unfortunately, this idea isn’t expressed enough. Instead of acceptance, most people are taught to hate themselves for the things that make them different. It’s time we stop doing this to ourselves. If there’s something you want to change about your body, change it. If it can’t be changed, accept it and move on.
For example, let’s say you suffer from skin blemishes. Instead of letting your skin defeat you, consider turning to acne treatment. The same is true about your other “flaws.” Instead of feeling bad about your recent weight gain, make a plan to shed those pounds.
This doesn’t mean you should change every little thing about yourself or feel like you have to. However, if things are bringing you down, there’s nothing wrong with making improvements.
#2. Stop Negative Self-Talk
Believe it or not, you are your biggest critic. Think about that for a second. It’s not your friends or family who are constantly criticizing you. You’re the one continually telling yourself you aren’t good enough. This negative self-talk ruins your confidence and causes you to have a negative body image.
The only way to stop negative self-talk is to develop awareness. There’s a chance you’ve become so accustomed to talking down on yourself that you don’t even realize when it happens. So start paying attention to the things you tell yourself. Every time a negative thought pops into your head, challenge it. Tell yourself the thought isn’t true, and remind yourself of all your amazing qualities.
It takes time to stop the negative chatter, but it’s possible. You just have to commit to re-training your brain, and practice speaking kindly to yourself.
#3. Appreciate Your Body
Your body is amazing. It helps you do everything from walking to working. Unfortunately, many people don’t treat their bodies with the respect they deserve.
Chances are, instead of showing your body love, you demand the world from it. And you probably never take the time to appreciate all that your body does for you. It’s important to look at your body as a gift because that’s exactly what it is.
The number of things your body can do is a miracle, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. Take your brain, for example. According to research, the human brain can store up to five times more information than an encyclopedia.
And your body can likely do something unique, too. Maybe you’re double-jointed, good at science, or a fantastic swimmer. The sooner you start to appreciate your body for the amazing things it does, the better your life will be.
#4. Avoid Social Media
It’s important to remember that not everything you see in the media is real. Photoshop and filters make people look flawless. And on social media, it may seem like everyone has a perfect life. You know you shouldn’t compare yourself to what you see in the media, but you probably still do. And you’re not alone.
Unfortunately, making these comparisons to what you see on social media can greatly impact your mental health. According to research, there’s a direct link between social media use and depression. A 2018 study discovered that people who spend less time on social media, experience fewer symptoms of depression and loneliness. That’s why it’s important to take breaks from the internet.
Instead of spending your days glued to Instagram, do something else that brings you joy. Take a walk, call a friend, or read a book. Consider replacing social media with a healthy habit that doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself.
#5. Download an App
As mentioned above, reducing your social media activity is a good idea. It’s easier said than done, though. If you struggle to cut back on social media use, consider using an app to help limit your screen time.
For instance, Forest is an app that lets you set a time during the day to not use your phone. Let’s say you give yourself a whole hour of no-phone time. During that hour, a digital plant will grow. If you use your phone during this hour, the app sends you a notification to get off your phone. If you continue using your phone, your digital plant will die.
There are several other apps you can download to help keep you from constantly using your phone. Alternatively, you could turn off your social media notifications so you’re not inundated with never ending distractions. You might even choose to put your phone on “do not disturb” so you’re less likely to pick it up.
Your body is beautiful and deserves love and respect. Instead of focusing on your flaws, give more attention to everything your body does to keep you alive. The tips above can help you turn your negative body image into a positive one.