It’s natural to feel not-so-great sometimes. Let’s say you’re having a bad day or you just came back from vacation a few pounds heavier. And if you’re part of a friend group that suffers from poor body image or scrutinizes what goes into their diets way too often, it can affect how you perceive yourself and thus, your mannerisms.
Yet, it’s a good idea to develop a sense of self-love and acceptance where you can maintain positive body image regardless of your network or fluctuations. While pounds may shift or water might be retained from a salty meal, you are still you—and you are fabulous, if you let yourself believe it. Here are a few ways to model body positivity, because you deserve the good vibes no matter what.
Appreciate What Your Body Can Do
We often take our bodies for granted, meaning that we forget how powerful they are. Without our bodies we would not be able to walk, ride a bike, laugh, or talk. “We are often surrounded by images, thoughts and conversations about the things that are wrong with your bodies rather than how powerful our bodies actually are,” points out Dr. Kristen Fuller. M.D.., mental health professional and eating disorder specialist at Center For Discovery.
“Appreciating the little things each day such as using our legs to go for a walk or our arms to carry things can allow us to adopt a more loving view of our bodies instead of passing so much judgment on why they are not perfect,” she says.
Ready to get started? Here are a few of our favorite ways to show your body gratitude.
Eliminate the “Fat Talk”
“We spend so much time talking about our weight, cellulite, and diet that we become obsessed with bashing our body shape and size. It is important to eliminate any of this negative talk around our friends, family, colleagues, [and] social media groups,” Dr. Fuller explains.
If you hear negative chatter, shift the conversation to something else or walk away for a bathroom break. “It can mean coming up with a phrase or comment to use when those situations arise,” she suggests, as a way to alert company that this topic isn’t productive, or it can be a self-awareness to create distance and tune it out.
Treat Your Body Well
Taking care of your body is a way to boost self-confidence and appreciate your body. “Taking a bath, going for a walk, getting a massage, getting enough sleep and eating nutritious meals are ways to take care of your body in order to feel good about yourself,” she says. Let yourself love your body and give it the attention and care it deserves, and you will feel more positive about yourself.
Have Fun and Live Life
Take action—make plans and be social, head to the gym, try new adventures. Exercise in particular will boost endorphins and make you feel confident in your skin. “Exercise can be and should be fun. Learning to move your body in ways that bring you joy is a very important aspect of exercise,” Dr. Fuller encourages.
“If you enjoy running, take time to explore new running paths and invest in a good pair of running shoes. If you enjoy yoga then check out a handful of different yoga studios in you area and find one that you enjoy. Exercise should not be a task or a chore,” Dr. Fuller emphasizes.
As for the other experiences, let them bring you happiness without worrying about body image or the scale. It’s a great way to stay distracted and enjoy good vibes in life.
Stand Up For Yourself
“If someone you respect makes a comment about your weight in a negative manner, take a moment to reflect on that comment. After giving yourself a few moments to reflect, politely explain why that comment was uncalled for and how it made you feel,” Dr. Fuller instructs. It’s okay to be assertive and defend yourself—this will make you feel more self-worth. “That person may or may not have realized that comment was hurtful so therefore it is important to not be defensive but rather make a point to stick up for yourself,” she says.
With these mental and physical hacks, you’ll be able to welcome more positivity into your life and appreciate your body for its wonderful attributes, its perfect imperfections, and its incredible capabilities that make our lives feel so complete.