Mirror Mirror…

After finding this super inspiring video online recently. We thought we’d address the issue of Body Image.
 

The majority of us judge our bodies harshly every single day, especially women. What is with that? We would never say these things to others as it would be considered rude or even abusive yet we do it to ourselves without any second thoughts. When did this become acceptable?
According to one particular study, we have an average of 13 negative self-image thoughts each day…. 13! That’s insane. Not only that but these thoughts are typically increased following exposure to thin/ideal body images in the media. What’s even more scary is that studies indicate that girls begin having negative thoughts about their body image between ages 3-6!
So how do we stop this ridiculousness and silence our inner critic???….. The answer is mindfulness!
Mindfulness involves awareness and acceptance of the present moment without judgement. It involves stepping back from your thoughts and watching them with curiosity and openness. With this degree of separation we are able to let them go without reacting to them. Here are some easy steps to follow:
1)    Notice your thoughts when you have them.
See if you can notice how many negative self-image thoughts you have each day. What is the nature of these thoughts? Are they leading to more negative thoughts? E.g. “My hips look big in these jeans, wow my hips are huge, OMG I’m so fat, no one’s ever going to love me”. Are these thoughts all about the same body area or are they different? Perhaps it’s the same reoccurring thought each day.
2)    See if you can notice where your thoughts are coming from.
Have you had a shit day at work – are you feeling overwhelmed or deflated as a result?  Have you just had an argument with a friend or partner – are you feeling down about yourself? Have you just watched a movie or read a magazine filled with highly attractive, thin and dolled up actors/models – are you comparing yourself to others?
3)    Accept them without judgment
Let these thoughts come and go without holding on to them or obsessing over them. Let’s face it, NONE of us are perfect and we’re ALL going to have days when we’re feeling down and aren’t 100% happy with our appearance. Be cool with that. Let these thought simply pass by without reacting to them. Let them float away just as easily as they floated in. Don’t let them hang around yelling for your attention.
4)    Notice what you like about your body
We too easily obsess over things we dislike about our appearance, yet rarely do we acknowledge the things we do like. Imagine we had 13 positive thoughts about our body image each day. How great would we feel?! When you catch yourself having a negative thought, see if you can also think about 2 things that you like about your body. This will help shift your focus to the things you love about yourself rather than the things that you wish were different.
By following these 4 steps we will be training our brain to catch ourselves when we’re critising our body image, and instead help us to remain objective and non-reactive. Accepting our negative thoughts and generating new positive ones will allow us to strengthen positive thought patterns in our brain, and in turn weaken the pathways that lead to cycles of negative self-talk.
At the end of the day, all we have is our little humble selves. We need to nurture and be kind to ourselves, relish in the strengths we have and know that we are amazing. Everyone has flaws (even that person you think is perfectly flawless), stop comparing yourself to others and stop beating yourself up with negative self-talk. Because you are beautiful just the way you are.

Michelle