Summer months in Tennessee are here. Many friends, family members, and acquaintances have shared with me an increase in negative thoughts about their bodies. Working towards peace with one’s body can feel elusive and overwhelming to many. I get it. Doing the work around improving your body image can be taxing & tough. Below are a few practical tips if you are struggling with body image:
1) Clean out your closet. Consider giving away clothes that don’t fit. Or, put those clothes away in a different part of your home. If this feels overwhelming, break it down:”I’m going to work on cleaning out my closet for ten minutes today.” There may be feelings that come up for you with this. If that is the case, it is so normal and ok. Name the feeling & ask yourself what you need to move through it in a healthy way. Maybe sharing with your best friend could be helpful. Or, journaling about some of the grief there. Whatever it is, resist the urge to judge this experience around your clothes.
2) Take care of your body by meeting basic needs. What might these look like? Sleep, eating enough food, drinking enough water, rest, movement if that is something you enjoy, connection with others. Start your day by asking yourself: “What does my body need today?”.
3) Zoom out. Often, we get stuck in rigid, inflexible, and critical thought patterns when it comes to body image. These thought patterns oftentimes induce feelings of disgust, anger, and shame. Notice the thoughts and resist the urge to “attach” to them. Practice telling yourself: “I am noticing that I am having the thought that…”. Zooming out, or putting less value in our thoughts per se, can give us the chance to re-align with our value system instead. We have so many thoughts in any given day; it is important to recognize that thoughts are just thoughts. They may be true, may not be true. This exercise can be a helpful tool in working towards peace with your body.
I hope these tips are helpful for you. As always, I am rooting for you!
By: Laura Deneen, LPC-MHSP, CEDS-S, NCC