Unless you’ve been on a serious social media cleanse for the last couple of years, you’ve probably been exposed to the Body Positive Movement in some sort of capacity. A quick internet search for “body positivity” will bring up countless articles, videos, images and social media accounts aimed at challenging beauty standards and helping people adopt a more forgiving and accepting attitude toward their bodies.
Still, it can be difficult to figure out how exactly to be more body positive — to both yourself and others. Here are six ways to be more body positive in your everyday life:
Challenge yourself to identify the things you love and appreciate about your body. It’s easy to step in front of the mirror and to begin noting all of your perceived flaws. However, your body is so much more than just something to look at. Remind yourself of all of the amazing things your body lets you do: Writing, running, singing, dancing. Recognize that your body is the instrument of your life, not just an ornament.
Show your body some love. Treat your body to a relaxing shower or bath, go for a walk, do yoga, get a massage or wear clothes that are comfortable. Take time to appreciate and care for your body!
Allow your body to be a tool to living your life, rather than an obstacle. Want to go swimming with your friends? Do it! Waiting to do things until you have the “right body” only prevents you from living your life.
Stop making judgments about your physical appearance or anyone else’s. This is true for both insults and compliments. It’s easier to see how negative judgments about your or someone else’s body goes against the body positive movement. However, positive evaluations (for example, “You look so great! Have you lost weight?) can also be problematic since they tend to suggest some sort of ideal. Try to comment on something not related to appearance instead. For instance, you might commend a friend’s hard work in the gym recently as opposed to how much weight’s she lost or how great she looks.
Continue to educate yourself on body positivity. Learning to be more body positive is a process that takes time. There are lots of great resources out there for body image, as well as disordered eating. The Body Positive and NEDA are two great resources, but there are many others out there as well.
Ask for help if needed. If you are struggling with poor body image and are finding that it’s interfering with your mood or day-to-day life, ask for help. The Counseling & Testing Center is your on campus resource. We offer a wide variety of services including individual and group counseling at a very low cost. Stop by Grace Wilkie 320 or call us (316) 978-3440 to make an appointment.