Your Body Image: Think Positive!
Guest Blog by Lisa Marsal
Body image is the mental picture that you have about your body. Most women are not happy with what they see reflected in the mirror even though this is probably not the way that other people see them. Research shows that women have 13-15 negative thoughts daily about their bodies. Thinking about our own reflection in the mirror, do we focus on the positives or do we only see negatives? Do we even see our positive traits or are our thoughts only negative? How did we get here?
Certainly, the media has a large part to play in our perceived body image insecurities. The never-ending news stream parading celebrities, glamour, and a cultural beauty ideal that is attainable only via Photoshop on magazines, billboards, and on screen leaves even the most confident woman questioning her body. However, more sinister is the fact that we have potentially trained ourselves to think negatively about our bodies.
Habits are formed through constant repetition. If the brain is constantly driven along a certain pathway that neural pathway becomes stronger and eventually that pattern or pathway starts to become normal to us. We start to automatically accept that thinking as acceptable. Consequentially if we only see our bodies in a negative light, that negativity starts to become our new normal and our resultant body image will be lower.
Dealing with stress or unresolved issues by blaming one’s body is another common cause of low body image. It is often easier to blame or take it out on your body than deal directly with a stressful situation. Binge eating, starvation, and purging are all things that seemingly help gain better control over a tough issue but they do not ultimately solve the underlying problem that caused you to behave in this manner. Our bodies are not the problem and the solution is to deal with the key issue at hand and not punish our bodies for that problem.
The mind/body solution:
- Rewire your brain’s thought processes and gradually change the way you think. For every negative, seek out and say aloud two positives. Over time, a positive neural pathway will form that will be deeper than the negative one.
- Find the real problem and resolve it. This will be so much better for you, and your mental health. Your body will thank you for it.
- Pour yourself a glass of water. We all know the benefits of drinking enough water every day but the couple of minutes it takes to physically move and pour a glass of water will give you the breathing time you need to reassess any stressful situation.
- Exercise. There are no end of benefits to be gained by exercising. Exercising makes us feel better about ourselves and ultimately creates a more positive body image.
- Be grateful for your body. Focus on your health and think about the amazing things your body does for you every day.
- Don’t compare. You are not that celebrity and probably wouldn’t want her life anyway. Remember that the images that the media portray are not a reflection of the real world.
- Compliment yourself, your friends, and your life. Focus on the good and change your goals to health, wellness, and vitality.
Lisa Marsal is a certified Pilates mat and reformer instructor. She is a co-owner of Pilates on Hilton.