How many times do you put yourself down or pick your body apart throughout the day?
“Ugh, my thighs are so fat.”
“I’m not good at that.”
“I have to get rid of these love handles.”
Your brain has neuroplasticity, which means it can learn and change depending on where you train it to focus. If you’re focusing on never being thin enough, hating on your body, and resting your mind on self-criticism, then your actions will align with those thoughts and you’ll start to feel pretty crappy about yourself. If instead, you practice a new set of thoughts and activities you’ll be creating new neuropathways in your brain and over time you’ll develop new behavior patterns.
“The brain is the organ that learns, so it is designed to be changed by your experiences…whatever we repeatedly send and feel and want and think is slowly but surely sculpting neural structure.” – Rick Hanson, Ph. D.
The beauty is, it only takes a few simple changes – done consistently – to start creating thoughts and behaviors that will make you feel better in your body. Here are a few ways you can use mindfulness throughout your day to instantly feel better in your body.
Ditch the Beauty Magazines
Even though they might seem helpful, most beauty and fitness magazines are filled with unhealthy weight loss advertisements, staged photo shoots, and photoshopped images. These tend to lead to comparison and increased anxiety to follow their advice – urgently! Opt out of flipping through the pages of magazines and choose books or uplifting articles instead.
Posture affects how you feel in your body. Try this: Hunch your upper back, jut your chin forward, and round your shoulders. Take a deep breath. Now: Stack your head over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips. Look straight ahead, broaden across your collarbones, and imagine you have a slight lift in your chest. Take another deep breath. Feel better already?
In the second position you’ll find you can breathe with more ease, can feel more self-confident, and help prevent back, shoulder, and neck pain!
Highlight Your Style
Many of us are strategically hiding areas of our bodies with our clothes (peasant blouse anyone?). Instead of mindlessly throwing on clothes to cover up, experiment with fashion to highlight the places you feel good about. Increase your attention of what type of materials feel nice on your skin, so you ENJOY the experience instead of pulling and poking at an itchy shirt. Add some soft or sexy lingerie to the mix and getting dressed will feel pleasurable instead of something to dread.
Watch Your Language
Notice your language throughout the day. When you catch yourself starting a sentence with, “I’m not ________ enough” or “I can’t do _______”, rephrase it in a way that expresses the idea in a positive way and still holds true for you.
So instead of: “I can never make it through a workout, I’m so weak!”
Try saying: “I’m practicing plank from my knees so I can build my core strength to hold it for 30 seconds.”
Move, Jump, Dance!
Moving your body does wonders for your physical health as it increases your cardiovascular endurance, strengthens your muscles, helps with balance, creates better sleep, aids in digestion, decreases stress, and much more. It also gives your mental health a boost. You get a dose of warm fuzzy positive endorphins leading to a natural boost of confidence, as well as feelings of happiness and joy.
The key is to find a type of movement that you really enjoy! In my online programs, we call this idea a JOY workout. It could be something like blasting your favorite music for 10 minutes and having a dance party at home. Or going out for a nature walk or bike ride, heading to the pool for a swim, or playing hopscotch! Most importantly, you’re getting your body moving in a way that feels good.
Write a Love Letter To Your Body
Your body is so much more than its measurements, percentages, or dress size. The next time you feel frustrated or are harping on your numbers, write a love note to your body. List everything you’re grateful your body does for you. It may feel cheesy at first, but keep going with it. This will help shift your perspective and see that your body is so valuable as it is right here, right now, in this very moment!
Thank you for my feet and strong legs that let me walk, hike, bike, and dance. Thank you belly, for digesting my food and for helping me tune in to my intuition.