Body positivity is all about accepting your body - your size, your shape, and all of those different parts of your body that make you you. Instead of focusing on a supposed 'ideal' shape, and putting ourselves down if we fail to achieve it, putting our mental energy into appreciating our body and all of the wonderful things it does for us.
As we get older our body and skin changes. We spend many years working hard, we accumulate life experience, we may have kids, we may suffer through illness, we go through menopause - the list goes on.
All of this changes our body shape. Some of us might put on weight, some may lose weight. Some of us get bigger boobs, others might lose their bottoms.
How we view our bodies and respond to the changes of life all depends on our mindset. The goal is not to feel bad or down about these changes, but to accept and embrace them. Our bodies may not be perfect, but neither is life! It's a tapestry of different stories, different people and different bodies.
Here are some tips on how to cultivate and maintain a body positive attitude despite the stresses of daily life.
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At time of writing, we are in lock down due to the Coronavirus. Considering everything that is going on, and the fact that we are stuck at home in isolation, it is more important than ever to look after ourselves and remain not only positive, but body positive.
Social isolation or not, we all have to wake up and greet ourselves everyday. This is the first thing we do of a morning, and it sets the tone for our entire day - so we need to find ways to feel strong and healthy, and to appreciate all of the amazing things about our body!
Start your day off fresh. Here in Australia and beyond, we are lucky to live in some incredible locations. We all need to smell the fresh air, and take some time for our mind and body everyday.
Try to set aside 15 minutes first thing in the morning just for you. Keep it simple by choosing something that you know you can stick to – it could be a little walk, a few yoga poses, or some deep breathing and meditation in your backyard.
If you're like me, and you really don't enjoy running, for example, then there's no point saying you're going get up and go running every morning. Trust me, after two days you'll be finding any excuse not to go!
Instead, set a small, manageable goal, to do something quick and easy that you enjoy.
Simply stretching out your muscles or doing a body scan meditation can really help you to check in with yourself, and to appreciate everything that your body enables you to do everyday. Sometimes we get so caught up with our own lives and insecurities that we forget that not everyone is able to take their dog for a walk, go for a swim or even type on a keyboard. Thank you body for what itcando.
By following this daily routine, you can focus your mornings on yourself, and start the day positively.
It will make you mentally and physically stronger, encourage you to be present, and help you to feel gratitude for your mind, body and health - generating bounds of self love and body positivity.
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Oh yeah, you heard me!
Look into that mirror and make a list of the 5 things you like about yourself and your body.
Are you a hard worker, a leader, a compassionate carer, a great friend? Are you creative, smart, curious about the world? Do you have bright eyes, an edgy haircut or a warm smile? Flexible pointy toes, strong legs or a generous bust?
If you really struggle to do this, then ask a friend. For those of us who grapple with negative self-talk, it can be a real wake up call to hear what other people admire about us.
Grab one of your best friends, a note pad, and write down the things that you love about each other. You can then gift this to each other, and read it when you need a boost.
Over time, your goal should be to learn these things about yourself. To be proud of yourself, and learn to self-love.
If you have a lot of ingrained negative self-talk, then this will be a challenge, but ultimately you are the one who has the power over your inner critic.
The next time negative thoughts come up, try to name your inner critic, and speak back with conviction. Think of what you would say to a friend who was putting herself down the same way that you are putting yourself down inside. I'm sure that you have lots of love, generosity and wisdom to offer your friends. Now it's time to widen that circle of compassion to include yourself!
If you're feeling the need to do something cathartic before you write you positive list, why not write down everything that your inner critic is saying, and burn it! Just don't burn the house down...
Need some more ideas on silencing your self-destructive body shaming habits? Check out this article on stopping negative self-talk from Medium.
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This doesn't mean that you need a full face of makeup and a blow dry everyday, but research has shown that what you wear can have a big impact on your confidence.
Some of us have a tendency to hide behind old baggy clothes or avoid shopping altogether. This such a shame, as well fitted clothes can be incredibly flattering, and make us feel powerful and ready to take on the day.
Most clothes stores have dedicated team members that will help you find your perfect fit and show off your best features - you can even get help online.
If you're one of us curvy girls, look out for specialised plus size clothing stores, as their staff will be super knowledgeable, their models will be relatable, and they will have a really wide range of gorgeous clothes for you to build a wardrobe that expresses your personal style.
Also, don't be afraid of wearing colour.
Colours have been proven to impact our moods and how other people perceive us. The colour red, for instance, has been shown to boost confidence, giving you courage, strength and energy, whilst yellow has been shown to boost self-esteem.
So why not choose a bright top, or add some colourful jewelry to your next outfit? Who knew that developing a positive body image could be influenced by the colours that we wear?
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Surround yourself with people who are vibrant, who aren't afraid to love themselves, and who lift you up. The group of people that you spend your time with will have a big impact on the things you talk about and how you perceive the world.
Both online and offline, build a network of positive people, who are the opposite of judgmental and shallow. People who have a hunger for life, who spread joy and embrace themselves fully.
There are some great Instagram bloggers who really put themselves out there and accept their bodies. They are great role models to follow and learn from – have a look at @stace_mcgregs @jennieyles and Taryn Brumfitt from @bodyimagemovement.
You don't need anyone in your life who doesn't love you for who you are - good vibes only!
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