Why do we care about how we look? Since the beginning of time, we as
women have concerned ourselves with our appearance and how physically attractive we are. However, in these modern times the normal concern of caring about how we present ourselves has turned into an obsession for far too many women. In today’s media, “thin-is-in.”
Unfortunately several of us measure our body image on how we stack up against those bodies that have been cut and pasted into magazines or against our peers. When we view our body image poorly, that not only decreases general life satisfaction and happiness, but it can also cause severe eating disorders. Making a targeted effort to improve body image for ourselves and loved ones would be a smart, even life-altering thing to do.
The answer to this question is much deeper than just physically working out to improve your body image. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with working out to improve your body (especially when weight is compromising your health). Physical changes are great; but, these changes must be accompanied by a mind-shift as well.
Let’s take a look at some ideas on how to boost body image, both for the short term and the long term.
Daily tips to boost your image
• Pat your own self on the back. When you are asked to come up with something that you like about yourself, are you more likely to come up with physical attributes? That’s all good and dandy but try to think beyond the physical attributes and try to focus on your uniqueness as an individual. For example, you can take pride in what a great mom you are or how you are such a great friend.
• Jot down your compliments. On a rough day, read your journal of compliments and reminisce on the warm, fuzzy feeling that you felt when you first received that compliment.
• Exercise. Studies show when individuals begin an exercise plan, they report increases in confidence, self-esteem and a decrease in negative body image even when overweight or obese.
• Appreciate your body for the great job it does carrying you through the grinding tasks you do on a daily basis. Massages, scented body lotions, and warm baths will have your body and your mind feeling great.
• Stop negative self-talk immediately. When you catch yourself slipping into negative self-talk (e.g. my thighs are so big, I hate my stomach, my nose is crooked and ugly, etc.) stop immediately. Counter balance that thought with a loving one. Would you say such critical things to your best friend? Of course not! It’s time to become your own best friend and treat yourself with kindness and respect.
These are just a few tips to boost your image. Body image affects how you feel about yourself, how you project yourself, and how you care for your own health. Try these tips and start having happier days.
(To contact Valecia go to www.assuringhands.massagetherapy.com.)
(Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times.)