4 Steps Towards a Healthier Relationship with Your Body
Updated: Oct 19, 2019
By: Nicole Bentley, LCSW
1. Adjust your expectations
One of the biggest myths about body image is that the goal for everyone is to get to a point where they love their body every day. That does not have to be true for you to live a fulfilling and meaningful life, and to have a positive relationship with your body. As humans, the way our bodies look changes both throughout the day and over time, so to expect that you will always love your body seems unrealistic. Adjust your expectations so that the main goal is to accept your body and find love for it whenever you can. For instance, go ahead and love how you look in your favorite shirt one moment, then, if you notice a change in the shape of your legs, you can still practice some acceptance of how your legs look, therefore decreasing your overall level of distress because you are holding both love for one part and acceptance of another area at the same time.
2. Change Your Relationship with the Mirror
If you look in the mirror every day, odds are that there are moments you are noticing and picking out things that you don’t like about your appearance. If this is something you struggle with, consider changing how you engage with mirrors all together. First, before looking in the mirror, make sure you are in a mindful and compassionate state; this will set you up for success in front of the mirror. Next, try using non-judgmental language as you reflect on how you look, or talk more about your clothing, makeup and accessories rather than judging your body.
3. Change Your Language About Bodies
The way we speak about our bodies and the bodies of others drastically influences our own beauty ideals and body image. Take note of how you speak about your body in your own head, or with friends, and consider if it promotes a healthy body image. If the answer is no, go ahead and try to make some adjustments to your language, including using less judgment, less comparison, and even avoiding talking about how bodies look all together.
4. Expose Yourself to Improve Your Body Image
If there is something in particular you struggle with, try to expose yourself to seeing that part more and more, and accept exactly what it looks like in an effort to lower the distress it causes you. For example, someone struggling with acne might feel more comfortable with makeup on; however they might not like the process of putting it on, or how it feels on their skin. This person would benefit from a few makeup free days to expose themselves to their natural skin. With time, it’s likely that they will grow more accepting towards their skin, and more comfortable with going out of the house with no makeup on.
I want to acknowledge that following these 4 steps are not a magic solution for what is likely a very deep-rooted struggle. These steps are here to assist in your journey as you begin to be less distressed by your body and practice more acceptance of it.