The media has had a negative effect on the way we view our bodies. Now that communication is at our fingertips, we can finally start to change that. There have been several important movements that have made it easier for people to accept their bodies.
Slowly but surely, we're all learning to accept our bodies, love our bodies and be tolerant of body types and traits that are different from our own. Still, there are moments when – independent of how body positive you are – you feel terrible.
You look in the mirror and perhaps hate what you see. You compare yourself to people in magazines and on television, forgetting they've been airbrushed and altered to look perfect.
It's a hard road, this whole accepting your body thing. But the body you have is the only body you'll ever have.
It's important to accept your body, love it and thank it for all it does for you. Here are some ways to actively appreciate your body:
1. Observe your body.
Have you ever taken a moment to look at the way your hands move so effortlessly across a keyboard, or how awesome it is that your lungs function without you telling them to? Observing our bodies can bring a new appreciation to the many things our bodies do for us.
I know some people will cringe at the idea of doing this, but have you ever stood naked in front of a mirror and really looked at your shape?
I know it can be hard. We all know our bodies so well, our eyes immediately go to our "problem areas." But it's really a liberating exercise.
Take a look at your naked body and see all the beauty that's in it: your curves, the lines, the freckles, the dimples... all of it. It's a work of art, and meant to be admired.
And the first person who needs to admire and absolutely adore your body is you. When we learn to look at our bodies without feeling imperfect, we suddenly start seeing what other people see.
A friend I take yoga class with mentioned how awesome my hips are. Because I've learned to love my body, I was able to accept her compliment and not self-deprecate.
2. Speak to your body.
Speaking to your body is a great exercise. You can start by thanking it and telling it how beautiful it is. When it's sick, you can tell your body to feel better and promise to take better care of it.
It sounds outlandish, I know, but once you've tried it, it feels kind of awesome. I have a knee that bothers me a little when it gets cold out, and when it starts hurting, I gently tell it not to hurt.
Weird as this may sound, when I start telling it to stop hurting, my knee listens to me.
3. Listen to your body.
Aches and pains are your body's way of telling you to slow down. Exhaustion doesn't mean you need more coffee; it means you need more sleep.
A broken out complexion could be your body's way of telling you there's something up with the way you've been nourishing your body or cleaning your face. Our bodies speak to us, and if we don't listen, we could make things worse.
A good exercise is to be self-aware of your body, and sit in stillness to see if you get any messages.
4. Move your body.
The human body was made to move. It was made to run, lift, walk and dance. There's no excuse for not moving your body if you're capable of moving it.
A brisk walk after lunch for a few minutes or a mini dance-fest in your living room is a great way to move your body a little during the day. Many of us complain about being tired, but the feeling you get after having moved your body is actually a great way to boost energy.
Your body will appreciate so much that you've used it for its intended purpose.