By now, we are deep into Pure Michigan summer vibes, and it wouldn’t be a Mitten summer without a trip to the beach! This seemingly easy and enjoyable endeavor can leave many people with feelings of trepidation. It’s likely that mainstream media has been forewarning you of the impending warmer weather— “Do you know what your body looks like? Is it beach ready?” Guess what? If you have a body and you take it to the beach, you are beach-body ready! Here are three tips you can use today to start feeling good about your beautiful body.
Silence your inner critic
This is something you can start right now! Shutdown the voices in your head that say your body isn’t right or you are a bad person. Change your narrative to say positive things. Studies show that once you cut out the negative self-talk, you experience an increase in confidence and happiness and less self-induced depression. This also applies to negative self-talk regarding someone else’s body, celebrities included.
Appreciate what you have
Gratitude is the attitude! Be grateful for the body you have. This is the vessel that is carrying you though your life’s journey; appreciate all that your body can do for you. What brings you joy in life? Work toward goals of doing more joyful activities, not a particular dress/size. When was the last time you fully looked at yourself in the mirror? I know this can be confronting for many people, but once you get to know the woman in the mirror, you will gain a stronger appreciation for how amazing she is. Remember that you are so much more than your lines, scars, bumps, dimples or a silly number on a scale.
“Loving yourself is the greatest revolution.” – Anonymous
While body shape and size don’t matter, nutrition does. If you put good food in your body, you will yield good results. Be smart with your nutrition choices and love yourself while doing it. If you consider the benefits of having a strong and healthy body, it only makes sense that you can’t mainline junk food daily and expect your body to be at its best. We can do more of what brings us joy when our bodies are healthy (see above appreciation).
Shape a positive circle
Build a tribe of supportive friends and loved ones who love the entire you. Imagine if you could see yourself through their eyes, and treat yourself the way your best friends would treat you.
Remember to set a good example! Our behavior can often times strongly influence our youngest fans; even if you don’t come out and specifically say it, children can piece together your coded language about any body shame you may have. Aim to inspire the young girls in your life to love all that they are.
If you can shift your mind when you are perceiving yourself as less than stunning and become an observer, you can help compartmentalize the not so positive feelings that emerge every now and again. Look at them, acknowledge them and then move on to enjoy a glorious day on the beach!
Dr. Megan Stubbs is a Sexologist, the job you never saw on career day. She offers a presentation entitled, “The F Word: Understanding Fat and Body Image” at university campuses and private events. Find her on SexologistMegan.com