Body positivity is a social movement which aims to teach people to love their own bodies, without condition. Sound impossible? It’s not. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to begin your journey towards improved self-respect and a positive body image.
Body positivity is more than just a hashtag on Instagram. It is a social movement which advocates the idea that every person has the right to feel good in their own skin, regardless of size, weight or form. It involves building awareness of different body types and the kinds of discrimination that they give rise to, as well as developing genuine acceptance for people with impairments, handicaps, diseases or unusual skin types, all completely independent of sexual orientation.
When talking about positive body images, it quickly becomes clear how many people are unsatisfied with their bodies or feel somehow physically alienated. Learning to accept and love your own body is an enormous task. In this article, we will show you five steps you can take towards a healthier body image.
1. Self Care for Body Positivity
Your body is your most precious possession, and you should treat it as such. Body positivity means to handle your body with love and care.
- Choose your food carefully. Treat your body well by giving it nourishing food. Pay attention to how you feel after you eat. Your body will let you know what food is good for it, and what isn’t.
- Stay active. That doesn’t have to mean going to the gym five times a week: find what works for you. Taking walks on the beach, dancing, yoga… the options are endless.
- Get enough sleep. You demand a lot from your body during the day. Let it get the rest it needs at night.
2. Listen to Your Body
Your body knows what is good for you and what you need. Body positivity is also about paying attention to its signals.
How, you ask?
- Spend time alone with yourself, away from the noise of your daily life. When you are no longer surrounded by distractions, you have the headspace to notice how your body feels.
- Know your own limits. When your body is telling you that you are getting close to exhaustion, give yourself a break instead of trying to push through it. That goes for your personal as well as your professional life. Saying no to things that are not good for you is a great way to build self-respect.
- Self reflection and techniques like mindfulness based stress reduction can help you to better understand your body and yourself.
- Set time aside for body care. Take a bubble bath, moisturize your skin or give yourself a massage.
- Reward yourself occasionally with things that are good for your body, like a trip to the sauna or a professional massage.
3. Appreciate the Power of Your Body
Every day, you breathe in and out around 20,000 times. Your lungs enrich your blood with oxygen and release carbon dioxide into the environment. Your heart pumps 100,000 times a day and provides your organs with sufficient oxygen and nutrients. And all this happens without any conscious input from you.
Our bodies are astoundingly powerful organisms, yet in our society, we still judge them by mostly superficial criteria. Members of the body positivity movement declare that this is the wrong approach. A positive body image cannot be measured in numbers.
Here are some ways to help you remember to appreciate your body:
- Pay attention to what you think and say about your body. Would you think or speak that way about your friends or family? Stop yourself when you base your self-worth on your looks.
- Positive affirmation or a short mantra can help you be more caring towards your body. Think of a short phrase to remind yourself of your body’s worth and how much you value it. When you start having negative feelings or are feeling unsatisfied, repeat that phrase to yourself.
4. Your Worth Cannot Be Measured in Numbers
Stop reducing yourself to your weight.
Become more body conscious by refusing to identify with any body measurements: neither your weight on the scale, nor your BMI, nor your clothing size. Numbers like these only measure size and weight, with no consideration of muscle mass vs. body fat, overall health and well-being or body type.
Here are some ways to distance yourself from body measurements and gain body positivity:
- It is not necessary to be on the scale every day. Tracking your weight long-term is not a bad idea, but weighing yourself once a month is enough.
- Remember: Your weight changes constantly and small variations are completely normal.
- Pay attention to your body. If you feel good and have enough energy throughout the day, your weight is just right.
5. Value Your Individuality
Stop comparing yourself.
Because of platforms like Instagram and Facebook, it is now easier than ever to compare yourself with others. But not all body types are equally represented on social media; there are mostly photos of slim and fit people. The body positivity movement values diversity and wants to give people the courage to feel beautiful, regardless of the ideals of society.
Every body is unique, and that individuality ought to be treasured. You don’t need to be a swimsuit model in order to be beautiful, or to have a positive body image.
Here are some ways to appreciate your individuality:
- Follow people who inspire you on social media, and remove any content that makes you feel bad about yourself
- If you notice that social media has too much influence on your life, try a digital detox for a couple of days. Check your mails only once a day and do not use your phone except to call people.
- Examine the decisions you make on a daily basis. Do you choose your clothes based on how you think other people will see you? Do you want to wear a crop top but don’t feel comfortable? Free yourself from society’s norms and give yourself permission to be yourself.
Body Positivity: The Movement: Goals
The immediate goal of body positivity is to help individual people gain confidence, self respect and a positive body image. But on the systemic level, the movement is about battling the disproportionate value placed on maintaining a very specific physical appearance.
Body positivity is getting more and more important, particularly in advertising. In the past years big companies like H&M and Nike have begun using models of different shapes and sizes. But despite the fact that body positivity has started to gain large-scale traction, the battle for universal acceptance and self love is still very much underway.
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