Winter weather may still be here for now, but it’s time to start thinking about taking off the mittens. Spring is on the way, bringing warmer weather and, often, harsh self-scrutiny that leads to negative body image behaviors. Fad diets, extreme workout routines, and other strategies for quickly losing weight can lead you down a dangerous path. While you can’t automatically rid yourself of negative body thoughts, you can develop healthier ways of looking at yourself and your body. This spring, practice these eight strategies for building a better body image:
- Appreciate all that your body can do. Celebrate all of the amazing things your body does for you—laughing, running, dancing, breathing, etc.
- Keep a top-ten list of things you like about yourself. Be sure to focus on things that are not related to your weight or looks. Read your list often and add to it daily.
- Remind yourself that true beauty is not simply skin-deep. When you feel good about yourself and who you are, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence and self-acceptance that makes you beautiful. Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body.
- Surround yourself with positive people. It’s easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive, encouraging, and who like you just as you are.
- Shut down the voices in your head that tell you your body is not good enough. You can overpower those negative thoughts with positive ones. The next time you start to tear yourself down, build yourself back up by repeating affirmations that work for you.
- Become a critical viewer of social and media messages. Pay attention to images, slogans, or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body. Decide not to accept these phony images as ideals you should try to attain.
- Do something nice for yourself. Take a bubble bath, make time for a nap, or find a peaceful place to relax in nature.
- Get out of your head. Use the time and energy that you spent worrying about food, calories, and your weight to do something for others. Reaching out to other people can help you feel better about yourself and it can make a positive change in the world.
By spending more time doing healthy, fun activities you enjoy and less time obsessing over your body, you can be well on your way to an improved body image this spring.