Let's face it: we could all use a little body image boost from time to time.
In a world full of magazine covers telling us our abs should be flat and our booties should be round, how are we supposed to accept ourselves the way we are? Good news: our experts are here to help. Below are 15 easy ways you can learn to love your body starting right here, right now.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone has something they wish they could change about their body. Wishing you had someone else's thighs or curly hair or smile takes away from what is uniquely you. Accentuating the qualities you like will boost your spirits and minimize the things you don't like.
2. Focus on what you have the power to change. Rather than spending your energy on wishing you were taller, redirect your focus on something you can change, like toning up with a yoga or pilates class, or honing one of your talents. Then celebrate with a nice pair of heels!
3. Dress as if you're where you want to be. Are you waiting to lose weight before you buy that new wardrobe? If you're wearing the same uninspiring clothes that make you feel drab, pick up a few smart wardrobe pieces, like a chic blazer, fashionable footwear, or some nice scarves or jewelry that will brighten your image and make you feel better about you now. The better you feel, the more likely you'll be motivated to keep making positive changes.
4. Surround yourself with beauty. Creating a beautiful environment at home or in your workspace will provide a greater sensual experience, which is what we all crave. Keep fresh flowers on your desk or table, add some silk pillows to your sofa, play your favorite music while cooking dinner, and drink mineral water out of a nice wine glass!
5. Practice self-care. The more you love and take care of what you have now, the more likely you'll move in the direction of self-improvement. Schedule you-time to take a warm, soothing bath, massage your skin with olive oil, read an inspiring book, or write in your journal.
6. Build a support system. Spend time with people who have a positive influence on you and that energize you rather than reinforce bad habits. Exercise together, swap healthy recipes, and champion one another when you're making progress.
7. Lose yourself in a cause. Have you heard the saying, "what you focus on grows?" Apply this to agonizing over how you feel about your body. Instead, replace those thoughts by spending some time and energy on a cause you're passionate about. The rewards will put things into perspective, raise your spirits, and make you feel better about yourself.
8. Treat yourself as you do others. Would you ever dream of talking to someone that way you talk to yourself? If you're in the habit of bashing yourself for the way you look or how you take care of yourself, switch to being gentle and patient. Change takes time and the more compassion and self-acceptance you practice, the better you'll take care of yourself.
9. Treat eating as something special. How we do anything is how we do everything. Practice mindful eating by having your meals in a quiet, non-stressful environment. Eat slowly and savor what you’re eating, and eat only until you're satisfied. When you listen carefully to your body's cues, you will help you develop respect for yourself and naturally reach your ideal body weight.
10. Practice gratitude. The more you appreciate what you have, the more you will have to be thankful for and this includes good health. Keep a gratitude list and add to it when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed at night. Acknowledge how grateful you are for another day and for all the positive things that happen, like the workout you fit in or the healthy food choices you made. This simple practice will allow you to start your day on a positive note, progress through it with a better mindset, and end it peacefully.
11. Work on your inner-self. We are spiritual beings living a human experience and we are here to learn and grow. When you listen to your inner guidance and live your life based on its wisdom, people will see the beauty and creativity of the real you that's inside the flesh and bones. Tap into yourself and learn to love who you truly are by practicing meditation daily.
12. Read up. Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton and Molecules of Emotion by Candice Pert are two excellent books that can also help us understand the science underlying how we create our own realities. Our beliefs, attitudes and expectations — including our emotions, and judgments — continually shape who we are, including our bodies.
13. Take charge. When you're glaring at yourself in the mirror, ask yourself "who's doing the talking here?" Is it your mind or your heart? Don't like what you see? Instead of beating it up, try listening to your body.
14. Get real. Be honest with yourself. Look at a picture of yourself from when you were a small child. You were and still are a precious, darling of the universe. You are a unique gem with immense value and worth. Start digging for it!
15. Remember: what you resist persists. What you resist, you become. Fighting against yourself, loathing your body only stimulates more neuro-chemicals that keep you spinning your wheels. The exciting thing is: you can change. Change your mind, change your life. How? Make the decision to shift your thinking and your emotions will follow.