How is your relationship with your body? Research says 46% of women and 62% of men are ashamed of theirs. Given those numbers, it looks like we have a problem. A study at Chapman University demonstrated that body image is closely linked to overall life satisfaction. Having a good relationship with your body has a positive impact on all aspects of your life. Try a few of these strategies to develop yours.
Accept what is, while working towards what can be
Your body is what it is. This isn’t to say you cannot have goals, but having a desired outcome for the future shouldn’t impede your enjoyment of the present. Good, bad, ugly, beautiful, fat, thin, these words are just subjective perceptions. Love yourself as you are and love yourself enough to aim for a little more.
Relinquish guilt and find pleasure
How often have you taken a rest day, or indulged in a treat only to feel guilty? Taking care of your body with a healthy diet and exercise can improve your quality of life, but obsessing over what you “should do” disrupts the quality of life you’re working for. When making a health-related decision, ask yourself what is best for you in this moment and for the long term. Check in with yourself to honour all your needs. Then you can make the best possible choice for that moment and eliminate future guilt. Sometimes, rest or a treat is the best choice.
Take time every day to acknowledge what your body does. Appreciating your physical body brings your awareness to everything it does for you, which grows self-love. The more you love your body, the better you treat it. In return, your body can do more for you. It is a cycle of good.
Your body is constantly trying to communicate with you. It tells you when it is hungry or full, what food it wants, how it wants to move and when it needs to rest. Your body is wise and the more you tune into its innate wisdom, the more effortlessly you will achieve health and wellness.
It’s easy to blame bosses, families, finances, the food industry and the media. While they may create obstacles, they don’t stop you from reaching your health goals. You have the power to choose and to change. You are in control of your thoughts and actions. Take personal responsibility and you will begin to make positive changes.
Become comfortable in your birthday suit. Challenge yourself to spend at least 30 seconds in front of a mirror and give yourself two genuine compliments. Dance and feel your body move. You will likely feel awkward at first and that’s okay. The more time you spend naked, the more comfortable you will become.
Look around you at all the different bodies in the world without judgment. Notice that no two are alike. Each body is the product of a unique blend of genes and lifestyle. Can you see the absurdity in comparing yourself with another body that has a completely different genetic makeup and purpose?
We experience the world through our body and we owe it much gratitude. When we learn to love our bodies, we are able to create and experience more fulfilling and extraordinary lives. When we love ourselves, we can better love others. When we embrace our bodies, we can better embrace opportunity. When we appreciate our bodies, we will have more in our lives to appreciate. Learning to love your body may seem a challenge, but the rewards are great.
This article was originally published in OptiMYz 1001.