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Cultivating A Healthier Body Image

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A healthy body image is realistic and accepting, based in the knowledge that human bodies come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and that appearance is not a measure of character.

People who have a healthy body image do not typically like everything about their looks, but they give their body credit for the miracles of mobility and human awareness.

12 Ways To Cultivate A Healthier Body Image

Cultivating a better body image is a continuous, lifelong process. These suggestions may help.

  1. Numbers, such as our weight or body mass index, tell us little about our overall health. It is more important to focus on healthy eating habits, staying active, and a making wise daily lifestyle choices.
  2. Advertisements do not represent reality. Assess what advertisers are influencing you to believe and then decide for yourself whether to accept their message.
  3. Acknowledge that you are stuck with your overall body type. Accepting the reality of your genetic inheritance is the foundation of a healthy body image.
  4. Put your bathroom scale into storage and let it collect dust. How we feel about ourself should never be associated with a number on a machine.
  5. Limit the time spent in front of mirrors. A negative body image is reinforced, research shows, by frequently examining our reflection.
  6. Comparing yourself to others will strengthen a negative body image. “Comparison is the fast track to unhappiness. No one ever compares themselves to someone else and comes out even.” ~ Jack Canfield
  7. It can make a world of positive difference to spend time with people who have a healthy regard for their body, and make wise food, and activity choices.
  8. Practice enjoying your body in motion. Whether walking, biking, dancing, gardening, vacuuming, or tossing a Frisbee the movement of our body can be an energizing source of pleasure.
  9. Make time to pursue your personal interests—those activities that feed your inner self or soul, stimulate your mind, and help you de-stress. We are less likely to be self-critical when our needs for enrichment, and relaxation are met.
  10. When negative thoughts about your appearance arise you might distract your mind with another activity, or purposely think more positive thoughts. Choosing positive thoughts may seem forced or awkward, but it helps over time by disrupting negative thinking patterns.
  11. Read articles and books related to body image, media techniques, and the cultural pressures influencing people today.
  12. Question how much your self-worth rests on your appearance. Happiness and self-esteem are based on acceptance of your unique self.

Source: Brown University
Photo credit: Nikos Koutoulas