Don’t want to hate your body, but seriously struggle to love every last bit of it? There is a middle ground. In this post I hope to share some quick insights into what I took away from an article in this month’s Boots Magazine focusing on body acceptance.
There is a new movement called, ‘body neutrality’, instead of forcing yourself to love a part of you, you just need to accept what you have and stop obsessing. Appreciate what your body does and can do and leave it at that! In a nutshell it is the middle ground between body bashing and body positivity. While the latter sounds ideal, embracing yourself is not always easy, so it can be another thing to fail at.
Body neutrality gives you the freedom to go about life without such a strong focus on critiquing the way you look – good or bad.
Shifting your body into neutral…
Reframe your mental podcast
Be aware of negative thoughts about your body and question whether they are actually helping you, and then distance yourself from them. Try to move to thinking about something that does matter to you.
Reboot body behaviours
When you feel the urge to do a body-focused activity, such as weighing yourself or counting calories, swap it for something that doesn’t make you think about your body at all. I like to chat to a friend or my mum, read articles on subjects I’m passionate about or doing some yoga.
Stop the comparisons
Recognise your uniqueness as a person, friend, family member, colleague, mentor, without focusing on your appearance. What makes you special? What do others say about you that makes you feel good? This is an exercise I’m still trying to master. Comparisons lock you in a cage of inadequacy.
Shift your perfective
The body isn’t something to look at, it’s somewhere to live. It’s incredible and deserves to be acknowledged and respected for all it does for you. Daily appreciation exercises can really help; be aware of your body and it’s motion. This may sound strange, but I really feel that this could be a powerful step to becoming comfortable in your own skin. Self-kindness before bed is also helpful: list five things your body did for you today or what you are grateful for.
Shout down your need to change
When you look back at your life, you’re simply not going to worry about the size of your thighs for example. We crave change because we are convinced the traits we like the least are the ones that everyone notices. According to the article, research has found that we tend to believe that 50% more people notice our appearance than actually do; this is known as the ‘spotlight effect’. This statistic really opened my eyes and made me consider that if we are not the target of other’s observations, maybe it is time we all stopped being the target of our own.
When it comes to accepting our bodies, the middle ground – neither hate, or forced love, really is the way forward in my opinion. Negative thoughts that put our body’s down and the unreachably positive ones send mood spiralling down equally. Gratitude is proven to improve both mental and physical health. It’s all about appreciating how your body creates joy, rather than what it looks like! Looking at your achievements can really help to remind you of your self-worth.
I have inserted a photograph below of the small table at the bottom of the article that explains perfectly how to boost your body neutrality.