By AMY STOCKWELL.
Everyone feels bad about themselves from time-to-time.
When it happens to you, you might need a circuit-breaker. You might need something that will stop you spiralling into an unhealthy place where you run yourself down with thoughts that probably have little or no basis in reality. With that in mind, here are five quick and easy things that you can do right now to help you feel better about your body- and yourself.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is brought to you by our partners at Fernwood Fitness. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.
Gratitude is a buzz-word in positive psychology and has been touted as the secret to happiness. But it has a surprising ability to make you feel about your body and self.
Gratitude can make you feel more positive about the things that you have in your life. It can help you reconstruct a negative situation in a more useful way (for example, feeling bad about your thighs? Consider being grateful for the fact that you can walk. Feeling bad about the shape of your nose? You might be be grateful for the capacity of your nose to smell and breathe – and grateful for its presence on your face). Gratitude can remind you of what is important (health, life and freedom – rather than pressure and self-criticism). And it can remind you to thank people who are supportive and are helping you to be strong.
And if you can’t always think of anything to be happy about or grateful for in your life or your body, cheat. Find a list of awesome things and allow others to inspire you to be grateful, like this one.
2. Accept compliments (including those you give yourself)
This one is fairly self-explanatory. When someone compliments you, just say “Thank you”. Don’t try and play it off. Don’t try and disagree. Don’t come up with a list of why the person complimenting you is wrong. Just say, “Thank you”. There are enough messages in our lives that tell us that we’re not good enough. How about letting in the good messages instead?
While we’re talking compliments, consider making a list of things that you are good at with a view to complimenting and valuing yourself.
If you are feeling bad, making a list of your positive attributes may take some time – but it is time worth taking. Are you good at something (good friend, excellent memory, exceptional patience, bouncing back)? Do you have a body part you like? How about strong knees, kind eyes or neat ears? Think about the good stuff you can do, and the brave things you have attempted (even if it might not have worked out the way you wanted). Build a list of more reasons to love yourself than loathe yourself. Reflecting on that list will remind you that, despite what your negative self-talk is telling you, you are actually pretty rad.
3. Go for a walk
Science has spoken on the impact of exercise on your brain. Moving your body can make you feel better physically, mentally and emotionally – as well as warding off dementia in later life. It helps you to feel in control of your health and it allows you to spend some time thinking about something else other than your problems (it’s just like a sweaty meditation).
But here’s my suggestion: don’t just walk because you want to change your body. Don’t exercise to punish yourself. Don’t move your body because you’re trying to be something that you’re not.
Go for a walk or move around because it’s a nice thing to do and because it’s a good way to celebrate your life. Stop putting pressure on yourself. Just walk or move (or even just breathe). It would make a dull reality show (The Biggest Walker), but it’s honest and good for you. Go now!
4. Get something positive out of your Facebook time
You know this already: Facebook is notoriously misleading. Through their Facebook pages, people present a very deliberate version of their lives to the world. Facebook (and other forms of social media) may make you feel like people are having a better time than you, that people like them more or that they have more friends than you. They might – but there’s a good chance they don’t. I’m not saying that people post things to Facebook to be misleading – I’m just saying that it may not be a reliable reflection of what someone’s life is like and how they are feeling.
For this reason, Facebook can be a mind-killer. It can make you feel very bad about yourself, your body and your life.
You could delete your profile. But if that isn’t an option for you, consider befriending organisations that post positive content and make you feel good.
Consider “liking” pages like A Mighty Girl . It’s a Facebook page for parents, teachers and other people who interested in raising strong girls. But here’s the thing: they post some amazing, uplifting stories as well as inspirational quotes about being awesome. They also list books that you could read (with your daughter – or yourself), as well as some great kids’ t-shirts (that you’ll want to wear yourself – I’ve hunted down adult sizes of a few).
The Happiness Institute posts on Facebook inspiring quotes and positive tasks throughout the day. It’s a good trigger to be mindful of how you are feeling and thinking at different points in your day – and may send your thoughts in a more positive direction.
Humans of New York is a Facebook page of a NY photographer who takes portraits of ordinary New Yorkers on the street. He asks them about their lives. It is often touching and always fascinating. It will make you smile.
Don’t allow your time on Facebook to make you feel bad about yourself – use it as a tool to inspire and uplift you to feel better about your body and self.
5. Make a doctor’s appointment
You’re not always going to feel great. But feeling constantly bad about yourself and your body is not ok. As you were growing up, there is a good chance that you didn’t learn to take care of yourself. As children, we tend to get praise for helping others, staying quiet about our needs, being well-behaved and not making waves. That “disease to please” can take a lot of time in therapy to work through, but taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do to feel better. You’ve heard this advice before: put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.
The quickest and easiest way to take care of yourself is this: make a doctor’s appointment. If you are feeling off, unwell or just not right, get checked out. Get a blood test, get a referral, just spend twenty minutes talking about how you feel. If you are feeling bad, there is a possibility that there is something medical going on. Plus, if you need it, your GP could do a mental health plan for you and you could claim a number of visits to a psychologist through Medicare. Maybe there isn’t anything medical going on, but going to visit your GP is a simple way to make sure. Ring up, book in and get checked out. If you don’t feel comfortable with you GP, ask around and find someone who is prepared to work with you on your health and wellness. Pick up the phone and make that appointment now.
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What do you do in your day to make yourself feel better about your body – mentally or physically?