If you’re looking for strategies to help you develop a more positive body image, you’ve come to the right place. We’re sharing 11 effective body positivity tips along with 25 positive affirmations to help you overcome negative, self-sabotaging thoughts so you can feel comfortable and confident about yourself and your body!
What is Body Image?
Body image is a broad term that refers to the way you perceive yourself when you look in the mirror as well as the mental image you have of yourself. Body image involves the way you feel about the shape, size, and physical appearance of your body, as well as the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs you have about yourself.
Contrary to popular belief, someone with a positive body image doesn’t think of him- or herself as perfect. Quite the contrary, actually! Almost everyone has something they’d like to change about themselves, but if an individual is able to accept and feel good about him- or herself despite his or her flaws, he or she is thought to have a positive body image.
On the flip side, those with a negative body image have significant anxiety about themselves and their perceived flaws, which can lead to a whole host of challenges, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, relationship problems, and substance abuse.
11 Ways to Develop a Positive Body Image
While I like to think we’re turning a corner in the body positivity space, the reality is that many of us still struggle to achieve – and maintain – a positive body image thanks to movies, television, and social media. If you’re looking for tips to improve your self-esteem so you can feel better about yourself and be a better role model for the impressionable young women and men in you life, here are 11 ideas to inspire you.
1) Celebrate your body
If you’re trying to create a positive body image, a great first step is to learn how to love and celebrate your body rather than hating or resenting it. For example, instead of feeling unhappy with how you look and feel while exercising, remind yourself how privileged you are that you can move your body. Not everyone can! And when you do find certain tasks or activities difficult, don’t go to the negative. Instead of saying, ‘I can’t’, look in the mirror and say, ‘I can’t…YET.’
2) Write down 3 positive things about yourself each morning
Mornings tend to be a time when women struggle most with their internal dialogue. Whether you had a poor night of sleep, indulged in a late night snack that caused you to wake up feeling bloated, or your kids woke up on the wrong side of the bed and are taking their emotions out on you, you’re much more likely to focus on the negatives at this time of day. If this sounds like you, get into the habit of writing down 3 things you like about yourself to help train your brain to focus on your positive qualities and features.
3) Always put your best foot forward
Regina Brett once said, ‘No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.’ I love this quote because I truly believe that our appearance plays a huge role in how we feel about ourselves and our bodies. Some may take me to task on this and tell me I’m shallow for feeling that hair, makeup, and fashion are important for a positive body image, and that’s fine. Not everyone cares about these things, but experience has taught me that the way I present myself to the world has a direct impact on how I feel about myself. I am much more confident when I’m rocking a flattering outfit and I’ve taken the time to apply makeup and fix my hair.
If you’re looking for fashion tips and tricks to help you feel more confident in yourself and your body, we’ve written an entire post on this topic, which you can read HERE.
4) Identify and remove triggers
If you struggle to maintain a positive body image, it’s quite possible that certain situations – or people – trigger you to engage in negative self-talk. Each time you find yourself feeling unhappy with yourself, take a moment to dig deeper. Write down the events that occurred leading up to those familiar feelings of self-deprecation, as well as how you responded and what behaviors you engaged in afterward that may encourage the cycle to repeat itself again. The idea is to keep a written log for a period of time to help you look for consistencies, allowing you to identify and remove/avoid triggers.
5) Surround yourself with positive people
Do you have people in your life who have a way of seeing the negative in absolutely everything? It can be so emotionally draining – not to mention depressing – to interact with people like this. I believe our lives are a direct result of the choices we make and the people we surround ourselves with, and if you’re trying to adopt a more positive body image, it’s important to surround yourself with people who lift you up.
Does this mean you need to cut negative people out of your life forever? Of course not! Just be mindful about how these people make you feel and make a concerted effort not to allow their negative energy to take residence in your mind and spirit. I find it helpful to engage in something positive after interacting with negative people, like going for a walk with some upbeat tunes, watching my favorite TV show, spending time connecting with my husband and daughter, or writing out a list of 5 things I’m grateful for.
6) Set goals for yourself
If you have a negative body image, take the time to visualize the person you would like to become and then write down all of the things you need to do to make that vision a reality. Do you need to lose weight? Get your finances in order? Change your job? End a toxic relationship? Write it all down and then create a roadmap to help you get from where you are to where you want to be. Commit to 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Setup a meeting with a financial advisor to discuss your financial goals. Start sending out resumes. Put an end to the relationships that are holding you back. Whatever your challenges are, the key to making meaningful change in your life is setting realistic goals and sticking to them so you feel more in control.
7) Try The Rubber Band Technique
Have you herd of The Rubber Band Technique? The idea is pretty simple: you wear a rubber band around your wrist, and whenever a negative thought runs through your head, you snap the rubber band and say (or think) the word ‘STOP’. You can follow this up with deep breaths or a sip of water, or you can find ways to replace the negative thought with a positive one – whatever works for you.
8) Develop a mantra to shut down negative thoughts
This is sort of a variation of The Rubber Band Technique, but many people prefer this option as you can make it a little more personal. A mantra is a word or phrase that is repeated frequently to keep your mind focused. Mantras are typically used in meditation, but they are also a fabulous tool for those looking to develop a more positive body image. Pick a word or phrase with meaning to you and your specific goals toward bettering yourself, and each time you find yourself in a negative mindset, repeat your mantra over and over until your thoughts begin to shift.
Some people find it helpful to display their mantra somewhere prominent in their home and/or office, and others go so far as to have their mantra tattooed on their body. The sky really is the limit!
9) Limit your social media activity
Social media can be tricky. It helps us stay connected to the ones we love as well as those we aspire to become, and while I’ve definitely seen a shift in people sharing more honest and raw glimpses into their lives, that still seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Social media can be especially damaging to those who struggle with body image, so be mindful of who you follow on Instagram and Facebook and don’t be afraid to take a break from social media when needed.
10) Practice gratitude
Another tip for those who are trying to develop a more positive body image is to practice daily gratitude. Rachel Hollis once said, ‘It’s impossible to feel anxiety and gratitude simultaneously. It’s impossible to feel fear and gratitude simultaneously. It’s impossible to feel anger and gratitude simultaneously. Fight negative emotion with gratitude!’ Keeping a gratitude journal can go a long way in helping you focus on the positives rather than the negatives.
If you’re new to this idea and willing to give it a shot, the Five Minute Journal may be a great option for you. This journal helps you focus your attention on the good in your life, cultivating gratitude and improving your mental well-being. It provides you with a simple structure that only takes five minutes to fill out, combining the proven elements of positive psychology so you can reflect and evaluate as you start and end your day.
CLICK HERE to find out more about the Five Minute Journal and how it can help you develop a positive body image.
11) Repeat positive affirmations
Positive affirmations – a practice of positive thinking and self-empowerment – are another effective strategy that can be used to develop a positive body image. They are short and simple phrases that can help you overcome negative, self-sabotaging thoughts and replace them with positive, self-affirming beliefs. In order to be successful, positive affirmations must be present-tense statements. Instead of saying ‘I will…’, say ‘I am…’, and repeat your positive phrase of choice over and over until you start to believe it!
25 Positive Affirmations for a Positive Body Image
If you’re interested in using positive affirmations to help develop a positive body image, here are 25 phrases to inspire you.
- I love my body
- My body is healthy and strong
- I am powerful
- I am capable
- I am enough
- I love myself, respect myself and accept myself
- My body is perfect just the way it is
- I only eat food that nourishes and blesses my body
- My weight does not define me
- I do not compare myself to others
- I choose to be healthy and happy
- I choose to love myself
- I am deserving of love and acceptance
- I exercise to honor and love my body – not as a form of punishment
- I am sexy
- I am kind and loving
- I am a positive role model to my <daughter, sister, niece, etc.>
- Other people’s opinions of me don’t matter
- I love my <curves, legs, eyes, hair, etc.>
- I am in charge of my own happiness
- I am getting stronger every day
- I am loved
- I will be my best self today
- I am full of energy
- I am unstoppable
I hope these tips, ideas, and affirmations help you find ways to ditch negative self-talk in favor of developing a positive body image. Remember to identify and remove triggers, to focus on your positive qualities instead of the things you struggle with, to surround yourself with people who lift you up, and to find powerful words and phrases to help shut down negative thinking.
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