Body image is how you view your physical self. Self esteem is how you feel about your self worth.
Body image and self esteem are intertwined. Below is a list of ways you can improve your body image as well as improve your self esteem. By improving one, you will likely improve on the other.
1. Write an I like myself list. Write down things you like about yourself without referring to your appearance. Include things you are good at, things you are proud of yourself for, positive personality and character traits that you possess, etc. Read the list often.
2. Look at nature. Notice how beautiful nature is, despite it being uneven and imperfect. Reflect this onto yourself. Nature is imperfect yet beautiful and so are you! We are all different and unique and it is supposed to be that way.
3. Visit positive websites often.
4. Do self affirmations each day. Post the affirmations around your house as little reminders that you are GREAT and BEAUTIFUL!
5. Stay away from the scale! The number on the scale, is just that…a number. It does not define you!
6. Admire successful people, not skinny people. Make a list of those people you admire...those who you feel have left a good mark on the world...those who you feel have been an inspiration and a success. When you think of the greatest people the world has come to know, is it all about looks? Probably not. You are not an exception to that. You are beautiful, but looks do not mean everything.
7. Try new things, take risks, and challenge yourself. You’ll likely achieve a new found confidence when you start doing things you never thought you could. If you don’t succeed at something new right away…try again. Perseverance is a strong character trait and one to be admired.
8. Get up, shower, and get dressed. It’s ok to have a scrubby day, but stop schlepping around the house on a daily basis. It’s like a self fulfilling prophecy. The more you schlep around, the worse you will probably feel. Likewise, if you get up and get ready for the day, the more likely you are to have a positive day.
9. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon of self loathing when you are surrounding by negative people. Instead, surround yourself with positive people.
10. Decide how you are feeling about yourself and the day before looking in the mirror.
11. Every time you say something negative about yourself, follow it up by saying something positive. Undo your negative self talk. Your worst critic is yourself and you must work on changing that. The more often you undo negative self talk, the more positive you will eventually feel about yourself.
12. If you find it too difficult to undo the negative self talk (as described in step 11), make neutral comments about yourself. For example, if you are focusing on your bad hair day, make statements to yourself about the color, length, etc of your hair. If your mind is occupied with neutral statements, there won’t be room in it for the negative comments.
13. If you find yourself constantly body checking in the mirror, cover the mirror up! The less you are able to look at yourself, the less you will look for your reflection as time goes on.
14. Remind yourself that the people who love you, love you for who you are, not what you look like.
15. Looks aren’t the only thing involved in beauty. Beauty also has to do with what type of person you are. Ever thought someone was beautiful and then once you got to know them, they became uglier? It happens. Personality has more to do with beauty than what many of us realize.
16. Check in with yourself on your feelings and emotions. Often times, underlying emotions or feelings underlie bad body image.
17. Pamper yourself (within reason of course). Get a massage, paint your nails, get your hair done, etc. You’ll probably feel better about yourself after a little pampering.
18. Become a critical viewer of the media. Idolizing pictures you see in fashion magazines, ads, etc will never be helpful because they focus on an ideal of beauty that is unattainable. Remember that airbrushing is the norm when it comes to the media. Additionally, the models you see, are a small percentage of our population and do not reflect the norm. Besides, who is to say that they are even happy?
19. Join a support group, online or in person.
20. Think about what your body can do for you versus what it looks like. You can walk, run, bike, etc!
21. Wear clothes you feel comfortable in.
22. Buy clothes that fit you. Remind yourself that you will look much better if you buy the size clothes you require. Buy clothes that flatter you, not clothes you desire to fit into. If you struggle with the size you wear, cut the tags out of clothes and remind yourself that every store sizes their clothing differently. The size of your clothes should not dictate how you feel about yourself. If you know seeing the size of your jeans sets you off into a whirl wind of negative self talk, don’t even allow yourself to go there!
23. Ask for support when you need it…even if it is just a hug. If you are having a bad day, seek out support. Don’t loathe in your misery all alone…it will only make the misery worse. Seek someone out to lift your spirits.
24. Read positive quotes. Start your own quote book with your favorites and read them when you are having a hard day.
25. Listen to positive music, read and enjoyable book, or watch a comical TV show. Music can leave you inspired, reading can take your mind off of the negativity, and watching something comical will make you smile and laugh, thereby lifting your spirits.
26. Work on accepting people of all shapes and sizes. Stop judging others for how they appear. It is a good step in accepting yourself.
27. Get involved in a hobby or volunteering. You’ll be far less likely to focus on negative body image if your mind is kept busy doing something you enjoy or something that is rewarding.
28. Let go of the notion that perfect exists. When you let go of your impossible standards, we can see ourselves as the amazing people we are rather than the lack there of.
Have other ideas? Let me know! I’d love to continue to add to the list!