16 Ways To Feel Confident About Your Body (Even When You Kind Of Don't)

Photo: Jacob Lund via Shutterstock / Ylanite Koppens from Pexels via Canva
4 women feeling confident about their bodies standing in front of a colorful background

In a world full of magazine covers telling us our abs should be flat and our butts should be round, how are we supposed to accept ourselves the way we are?

We're constantly told to fit a specific mold of "beauty," and our self-esteem and body image suffer because we don't all adhere to it. In fact, clinical research has shown[1] how damaging specific beauty standards that don't make sense for most of us are to our overall well-being.

Even though it can feel defeating, there is good news. You can love yourself just the way you are and learn to be confident about your body by making a few simple shifts in your perspectives and actions.

RELATED: If You Have These 6 Habits, You Have Really Low Self-Esteem (But You Can Get Over It)

Below, we've listed 16 easy ways to improve your body image and learn to become more confident in your own skin, right here and now.

How to feel confident about your body

1. Stop comparing yourself to others.

Everyone has something they wish they could change about their body. Research shows this isn't just a phase[2] we go through in high school — it's something that often follows us well into adulthood.

It's easy to wish you had someone else's thighs, curly hair, or smile, but it takes away from what is uniquely you and erodes your sense of self-worth.

Accentuating and appreciating the qualities that make you uniquely yourself will boost your spirits and minimize your negative thoughts about the things you don't like.

2. Focus on what you have the power to change.

Rather than spending your energy 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.

Your body doesn't just exist to be an ornament. Cultivate your passions, talents, and hobbies. Go out and spend quality time with your friends, and meet new ones! Devote a night every week to getting out there, toning up with a yoga or salsa dance class, and having a blast with everyone else there!

Not only are you getting some exercise, but science says you'll boost your self-esteem[3] at the same time.

3. Wear clothes that make you feel your best.

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 look and make you feel more confident.

If you can't afford some new additions, try being creative with what you have — it may be easier than you think! 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 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 from 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 "me time" to take a warm bath, massage your skin with olive oil, read an inspiring book, dump out your crayons and try a coloring book, or write in a journal.

Scientific research[4]points to how beneficial activities of this kind can be for your overall health in the long run.

6. Build a support system.

Spend time with people who positively influence you and energize you rather than reinforce bad habits. Exercise together, swap healthy recipes, and champion one another to boost encourage one another!

Psychologists say[5]that, whether you're with family or friends, spending time with them significantly impacts your self-esteem.

You should absolutely keep toxic relationships out of the equation, but let the ones who matter into your life.

7. Lose yourself in a cause.

If you've ever heard the saying, "What you focus on grows," consider applying this mantra to the qualities your appreciate about yourself, instead of agonizing over how you feel about your body.

Replace those negative thoughts by spending some time and energy on a cause you're passionate about.

Research shows[6] that the rewards you'll reap will put things into perspective, raise your spirits, and make you feel better about yourself.

8. Treat yourself as you do others.

Imagine talking to your best friend the way you talk to yourself when you look in the mirror. If you think this might ruin your friend's day — or your relationship altogether — consider changing your tone.

If you're in the habit of bashing yourself over the way you look or how you take care of yourself, switch to being gentle and patient. Try putting up sticky notes in the mirror of quotes that energize and inspire you, or simple affirmations that quiet down that negative self-talk.

Change takes time, and the more compassion and self-acceptance you practice, the better you'll take care of yourself.

RELATED: 5 Steps To Take To Start Falling In Love With Yourself (And Watch Others Start, Too)

9. Treat eating as something special.

How we do anything is how we do everything. As many experts recommend,[7] it's usually best to practice mindful eating by having your meals in a quiet, non-stressful environment.

Listening carefully to your body's cues 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, including good health, according to The Journal of Social Psychology.[8]

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 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. Know when to take breaks from social media.

When you look at social media, you see a glamorized, curated, filtered version of the lives of whoever you follow. Time and again, science has proven[9] how easy it is to feel like you don't measure up when scrolling through your phone, so the best thing you can do is unfollow someone as soon as you feel that painful tug at your self-worth.

If it's a close friend or someone else you'd really rather not unfollow, you can always mute or snooze notifications from that individual. Better yet, limit the amount of time you spend on social media, period. Instead, call your friends and talk on the phone, meet them in person and spend quality time with them so you can enjoy each other's company and make memories that matter.

12. Work on your inner self.

We are spiritual beings living a human experience and 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 inside the flesh and bones.

Tap into yourself and learn to love who you truly are by practicing meditation daily. It might be surprising, but several experts acknowledge[10] how significantly meditation can help reduce body negativity and shaming while increasing feelings of self-worth, even if you can only devote a little time to it.

Try it out and see!

13. Read up.

It turns out there are strong links between reading and feelings of self-worth and behaviors that lead to boosting self-esteem, according to a number of studies, including one repeated every few years by the National Endowment for the Arts.[11]

The report even points out how important it is to read, period, without discussing what kind of content the reader should seek out: "Good readers, and not only literary ones, enjoy this privilege of understanding and appreciating the outlook of others while enlarging their own identity."

Other reports, such as a randomized, controlled study published in 2008,[12] demonstrate how reading is an act of self-care. When you read, you are taking care of your brain's health, your memory, and you're honing your ability to understand complex situations and make connections in daily life more quickly.

Of course, the content of what we read heavily influences our beliefs, attitudes, and expectations — including our emotions and judgments — which continually shape who we are, and our bodies.

14. 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.

15. 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. Honor that child and that child, and honor who you are now so that, when you grow older, you can look back and confidently say, "I really lived life to the fullest," and that you didn't preoccupy yourself with superficial things that don't define you.

Keep in mind that most people either don't notice or don't think about them at all when they think about you and the amazing person you are.

Researchers confirmed[13] that branching out the different ways you evaluate your self-worth is significantly healthier for your overall self-worth.

You are a unique gem with tremendous value and worth. Start digging for it.

16. Remember that change is possible.

What you resist, you become. Fighting against yourself and loathing your body only stimulates more neurochemicals that keep you spinning your wheels.

The exciting thing is: you can change. Change your mind, change and refresh your apartment, change up your routines, make a change in scenery, change who you choose to spend time with, change your life.

Decide to shift your thinking, and your emotions will follow.

RELATED: 15 Make-Or-Break Ways Your Self-Esteem Affects Your Relationship

Linda DiBella, PhD, is a certified health coach and a certified practitioner with Got Pro Health. Nancy Lee Bentley is a dynamic wholistic health expert, visionary thought leader, professional speaker, author and coach.