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Top Tips for Feeling Free in Your Own Skin:
A Woman’s Guide to Summer Body Image

Magazines, movies, and music lyrics all glamorize specific body types that are deemed to be most attractive. In reality, we come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but unrealistic images can make it difficult to love your own body. These impossible standards can have negative effects on girls and women including eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression. 

So how do you learn to love your body in a world plastered with filtered and airbrushed images?

1. Quit the comparisons

We all have that one person we envy, but it’s important to remember that even they have flaws and insecurities. Equating certain body types to happiness is a myth, because feeling good about your looks is only one component to happiness. Remember that making comparisons can damage your self-esteem and won’t help you achieve your goals. When you feel envious of someone, try complimenting them. This will help diminish your jealousy and make you both feel good!

2. Point out your positives

We tend to seek out our flaws, but you have the power to retrain your brain to focus on your positives. Break the self-hate habit by pointing out your favorite qualities when you look in the mirror. Instead of picking apart your scars, dimples, and spots, give yourself a, “Hey gorgeous!” as you admire your eyes or how good your butt looks in those jeans. Remember that others view you for more than just your physical form. They take in the whole package including your humor, style, intelligence, and confidence.

3. Celebrate your body

Your body is capable of amazing things, and you’re more likely to feel good about yourself if you actively appreciate your body’s value. Meditate on your body’s many capabilities and accomplishments. 

Examples:

“I love my body because it allows me to move, travel, hear, speak, see, feel, and taste.” 

“I love my body because it carried and nursed my children.”

“I love my body because it won the battle against cancer.”

4. Treat yourself like family

It’s easy to criticize ourselves, but would you insult your friend, mom, or daughter the same way? Probably not, so why tell yourself those things? Talk about your body the way you would want your loved ones to view theirs, even if you don’t believe yourself at first. If you’re insecure about the thick thighs you inherited from Grandma Kay or the cleft chin passed down from Uncle Bill, think about the qualities you admire in those family members. Consider those traits as constant reminders of people you love.

5. Indulge in self-care

If you show your body love, it’ll return the favor. Make self-care a priority by engaging in activities you find fun and exciting. Fuel your body with foods that make you feel healthy and energized. Treat yourself to bubble baths, nature hikes, or quiet evenings reading a good book. When you take time to care for yourself, you’re more likely to have positive thoughts and increased confidence.

6. Keep a real-world outlook

Celebrities have trainers, stylists, and endless bank accounts to upkeep their image. And newsflash – any tabloid can quickly show you that even those “flawless” stars deal with major real-world problems. When you see glamourous celebs in the media, be mindful that those images never show their whole story. Without their photo editors and styling dream-teams, celebs would look just like the rest of us.

7. Stay off the scale

If you’ve ever tried to lose or gain weight, you know how discouraging scales can be. You may feel differences in your body, but when you step on the scale the number you see doesn’t reflect how you feel. Scales do not measure inches or account for water consumption, hormone changes, muscle vs. fat etc. Ditch the scale and rely on how you feel to determine your confidence.

8. Say yes to selfies

It’s common for people who aren’t satisfied with their appearance to hide from photos. But taking a selfie regularly and identifying a few things you like can help get you out of that negative mindset. Social media can be a scary place when you judge yourself harshly, but what you’ll probably find is that when you’re proud of yourself, others will compliment and cheer you on too! Keep your pages filled with uplifting material and unfollow anyone who puts you down.

9. Seek support

It can be hard to change deeply ingrained ideas about your body image. People with low self-esteem often feel guilty, ashamed and inadequate. When low self-esteem holds you back from enjoying life or accomplishing goals, it may be time to talk with a specialist.

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References:

American Psychological Association. (2007,February 19). Sexualization of 

Girls is Linked to Common Mental Health Problems in Girls and Women--Eating Disorders, Low Self-Esteem, and Depression; An APA Task Force Reports. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2007/02/sexualization

Koski, L. (2015, June 22). 11 Ways to Love Your Body Now. 

Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.huffpost.com/us/entry/7119376/amp

Neuman, F., MD. (2013, April 14). Low Self-Esteem. Retrieved from 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fighting-fear/201304/low-self-esteem?amp

Serednicki, A. (2017, June 26). How to Love Your Body Just The Way It Is. 

Retrieved from https://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/wellness/6-reasons-to-love-your-body/

Shinn. M.M. (2019). 8 Secrets or Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolution. Psychologically Speaking. [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/8-secrets-for-sticking-to-your-new-years-resolution  

Shinn. M.M. (2019). How Can My Family Master Mindfulness? Psychologically Speaking. [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/how-can-my-family-master-mindfulness 

Shinn. M.M. (2019). How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count The Ways: 10 Tips for Self-Love This Valentine’s Day Psychologically Speaking. [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/10-tips-for-self-love-this-valentines-day

Shinn. M.M. (2018). Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Most #Liked of Them All? Psychologically Speaking. [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-whos-the-most-liked-of-them-all 

How to Cite This Blog Article:

Shinn. M.M. (2019). Top Tips for Feeling Free in Your Own Skin: A Woman’s Guide to Summer Body Image. Psychologically Speaking. [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/top-tips-for-feeling-free-in-your-own-skin