Womens Health

Tips for Improving Your Body Image

In our media-oriented Western lifestyles, we are forever being hounded by images of celebrities who are hailed for that most elusive of traits—the "perfect body".

It’s no wonder then that more and more women are trying to loose weight; taking up fad diets, seeking out plastic surgery—and sometimes adopting dangerous eating disorders in the process. The truth is that even the most valiant attempt at weight loss will likely not make a dent in your overall self-esteem if an equal (if not greater) effort has not been made into building your own inner-confidence. So before you head to the gym, try these techniques that focus on building up your emotional muscles first.

5 Things You Can Do Now

5. Surround Yourself with Positive Images and People

If you’re under the impression that pinning up pictures of thin models and celebrities will somehow "inspire" you into good health, then you might want to reconsider. In fact, reminding yourself of all things you’re not is probably one of the worst ways to get yourself motivated.

Instead, be sure to surround yourself with positive images and people. If you know that talking to your mother-in-law is going to result in another touchy conversation about how that new haircut makes your face look fat, then maybe you should avoid the topic altogether. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to run from the phone at the sight of her name on the call display, just don’t let the conversation get steered in that direction. And if her comments really bother you, address the issue politely but firmly; if she doesn’t change her tune, limit the amount of time you interact with her. It’s essential for your self-esteem to be around people who are more interested in you than your looks or body.

4. Change the Way You Identify Yourself

If you had to write down the top ten things about yourself that best describe you, what words would you choose? Funny and fabulous or fat and flabby? If the latter two sound closer to your self-description, then it’s time to start thinking outside the box—or should we say the mirror! There is much more to you than meets the eye, and if you don’t believe this, no one else will.

Choose to identify yourself based on how you treat and are treated by others; your passions in life; and how you like to spend your time. And that doesn’t mean ignoring your negative feelings, either. Instead, try to get in touch with them – write them down or talk about them with a person you trust. Finding out where these feelings come from and what triggers them will help you gain control over them.

3. Be Your Own Best Friend

There are times in everyone’s life when they simply feel run down. Maybe you’re in an unfulfilling relationship, or are stuck in a job that makes you feel undervalued. Whatever it is, you need to be there for yourself to make sure those situations don’t take over your life. Believe that you deserve better, and don’t settle for less. Be sure to set standards for yourself and how you want to be treated. And never let anyone make you feel you need to compromise those standards.

2. Exercise Your Mind

Everyone needs a chance to unwind at the end of the day, so it’s no wonder so many women choose to do so by watching television shows and reading magazines that aren’t, shall we say, intellectually stimulating. But remember that those magazines and television shows aren’t looking out for your self-esteem, but rather, their own bottom line. So don’t let them tell you how to spend your money and time. Instead, invest in yourself – read books that interest you and participate in activities like meditation, that focus on achieving inner balance and self-awareness.

1. Be a Positive Force

Okay, we know, you’re probably thinking that this sounds a little hokey – but honestly, think about it. Consider how often we are encouraged to belittle others in our lives, to criticize celebrities in tabloids and to rip into the people we see on reality TV shows. What if we put that same amount of energy into being a positive influence on others and ourselves? What if women decided they’d had enough of bashing each other and instead decided to stick together and respect each other? Wouldn’t the world be a better place?

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