Most women don't feel good in their own skin. Although this is disheartening, it isn't shocking. Every day, women are told that they are not good enough and this translates into destructive, negative self-talk. We teach our kids that they are absolutely perfect the way they are, so it's time to use the same thinking about our own beautiful bodies — here's how to start.
1. Treat yourself kindly.
Remember what your mother used to say? If you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say it at all. If you wouldn't tell your best friend that her arms look fat in that dress, you certainly should never say it to yourself.
2. Use positive affirmations.
Whenever we look in the mirror, it's easy to zone in on the things you don't like. Instead, switch the focus. Look at yourself in the mirror, and focus on the things you like about yourself. Tell yourself that you are beautiful out loud. At first, you may feel a bit silly, but if you commit to the practice every day, you will start to believe it.
3. Be amazed by what your body can do.
Every month, your skin replaces itself. Your stomach lining is brand new every five days. Our bodies are extraordinary healing machines working tirelessly to keep us alive and kicking. Our body is our vehicle to get us from point A to B, but ultimately, you are so much more than that. While it's important to keep your body healthy, it's equally important to spend time working on your mental health and self-esteem too.
4. Get stress out of your system.
When you feel stressed, your hypothalamus, the area of your brain in charge of releasing hormones, instructs your body to release the stress hormone cortisol. Usually cortisol is released in response to our natural fight or flight response and our bodies expect it to be burned. But if our stress is ongoing, we never really get it out of our system. Excess cortisol can give you high blood pressure, insomnia, increased depression, and headaches, just to name a few!
Negative body image is a big cause of stress. One way to combat these feelings is to get active. Aerobic activities are an excellent way to burn up cortisol. Remember — a little bit of cardio goes a long way!
5. Get outside.
There are so many benefits for getting your daily dose of vitamin D. A multitude of studies have found that lower levels of vitamin D are associated with depression. This is because when you have high levels of cortisol in your system, your body is not as able to absorb as much vitamin D.
Sit outside in the sun for ten minutes a day, or make sure you're eating foods like salmon, eggs, and mushrooms.
6. Focus on health and wellbeing.
The number on the scale is not the best indicator of health. It's natural for your weight to fluctuate each day due to a variety of factors, such as water retention and that time of the month!
Although the scale can be useful, it's important to take the results with a grain of salt and measure your progress in other ways. Can you run further than you did yesterday? Do you feel stronger while you're bringing in the groceries? Maybe your jeans are getting a little bit loose. Amazing! Keep up the good work.
7. Find 10 things you love about yourself.
Forget about what you look like. Make a list of ten things you like about yourself that have nothing to do with your appearance. Your kindness, sense of humor, and your courageous spirit are all much better traits to focus on than stretch marks or belly rolls.
8. Dress how you want.
Life is too short to only wear black dresses and tummy-sucking undies, no matter how slimming it is. It's time to forget about how other people perceive you and portray your best self. Bring out your favorite colored skirt and your bright red dress. Don't be afraid to be seen in all of your glory.
This article was originally written by Laura Masia. For more, check out our sister site, Now to Love.