The following are a few things that you can do to enhance self-care, self- love and body acceptance.
1.Accept that which is out of your control– Some things about your appearance may be out of your control as they are determined by your genetic factors, family history, aging process and natural body changes. If,for example, baldness is your genetic card or broad hips and shoulders, then these are the cards nature has dealt you, but that does not mean that you cannot rock it, be sexy,beautiful and express your personality and attitude too. There are many famous, sexy and very desirable bald and/or aging film stars not to mention a few short ones,right?…. Accepting your shape, setting realistic goals and pursuing healthily the best version of yourself ( e.g. physically, psychologically, socially, emotionally, intellectually, professionally) is the key to finding confidence, happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment and personal growth.
2.Letting go – Learn to regulate and manage your negative emotions. Talk about your feelings and express your emotions instead of denying, avoiding, suppressing them.Let go of the negative emotions about your shape rather than internalize them or letting them influence your thoughts about yourself. If you tend to comfort eat when you are anxious, stressed or angry, find other outlets such as sports, writing, art, music, dance, walking through nature etc.It will promote good mental health.
Let go, disregard, challenge, rejected or reframe society’s messages rather than taking it in as truths or cardinal rules, as well as, be more conscious of the choices that you make that expose you to these messages (e.g. magazine, fat talks etc).
3. Love, accept and attend to your body’s needs- Take good care of your body and be attuned to its needs. Protect your body from threats, promote its health, vitality and appreciate it. Eat nutritious foods, exercise, sleeping well, go to doctor, groom and pamper yourself (e.g.massage , facials) etc. Relieve stress by using relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing, meditation to achieve a sense of calmness and balance. Adapt more flexible and helpful behaviours that promote well- being, invest in your personal growth and treat yourself with kindness and compassion.
4.Surround yourself with people who are comfortable with their own body, who do not engage in fat talks and are not consumed by their negative body image, but promote positive body talks and body acceptance. Get inspired, motivated, encouraged and feel the positivity from these relationships. Surround yourself with people who love and accept you as you are.
Building and maintaining healthy relationships will form a good emotional, practical and cognitive support system for you, where you could feel safe to reveal your inner struggles, vulnerabilities and ask for help if needed. Healthy relationships have been linked to greater life satisfaction, higher motivation, perseverance, coping abilities, control, less loneliness and fewer feelings of inferiority and/or inadequacy.
5.Live in the present and challenge yourself instead of conditioning happiness, success, belonging, love on the achievement the perfect body. By hoping and waiting for happiness to arrive on the condition of having the prefect body, you are wasting time, because life is passing you by and it stops for no one. You are possibly missing the best years of your life where you could have lived life to the fullest by actively participating in it ,rather than avoiding , waiting and sitting on the side lines. By focusing on your body’s shape, weight and size you are robbing yourself of that same happiness you are hoping to get by changing your physicality.
6.Find greater meaning, purpose and direction in your life beyond your appearance. You could develop new friendships, find your life partner, start a family, learn new skills, volunteer in the community, progress in your career, develop existing talents further etc. You could broaden your horizons and set yourself new goals. Challenging yourself will raise your contentment, self-esteem, self-efficacy and personal growth. Happiness is found in the whole journey of your life and in your love to your whole self.You could find it within you if you only start looking.
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Frederick, D., Sandhu, G., Morse, P., & Swami, V. (2016). Correlates of appearance and weight satisfaction in a U.S. National Sample: Personality, attachment style, television viewing, self-esteem, and life satisfaction Body Image, 17, 191-203.
Maša Černelič-Bizjak,M.,& Jenko-Pražnikar, Z.(2014). Impact of negative cognitions about body image on inflammatory status in relation to health. Psychology & Health, 29 , 3, 264-278.
Flaherty, M. (2014) .Influence of yoga on body image satisfaction in men. Perceptual Motor Skills. 119,1, 203-214.