When it comes to body image, it can be overwhelming to tackle the negative feelings we might be experiencing. The way we feel about our bodies is informed by a variety of past and current experiences. From the way our friends discuss weight and dieting to how social media depicts perfection, many of us are battling deep inner pain related to our physicality.
As anyone who struggles with body image will know, it is not enough to simply ‘choose’ to love ourselves more one day. Facing our true feelings about our bodies and how we perceive them can be extremely distressing, and it’s a complex area to unpack. Thankfully, there are some gentle but effective ways we can naturally boost our confidence.
Mirrors are typically a fear-triggering element for those struggling to cope with a difficult body relationship. We might turn away from our mirror image in dislike of what we initially perceive. Store window reflections and bedroom vanity mirrors are just some of the looking glasses that trigger bad body feelings. But did you realize that your mirror could be a source of healing?
Start by introducing positivity to your mirror space. Set aside 20 minutes to write five positive messages on post-it notes that you can stick up around the frame and see clearly each time you look at yourself. Affirmations might include, “I am my own measure of beauty” or, “I am enough.” In the image above, you can get ideas from the messages my clients posted on a mirror in my office. Consider these notes as the love letters your mind and body crave as you gradually adopt them into your consciousness.
Next up—gather meaningful items to place nearby your mirror in order to create a sanctuary of positivity. Perhaps there is a unique scented candle that you adore, some photographs of a trip that always makes you smile, or a shell you collected from the beach on a beautiful day. Put these items near your mirror to help soothe your nervous system when looking into your reflection.
In an increasingly digitalized world of social media and 24/7 advertising it can be frustratingly difficult to avoid toxic diet culture and the pressure that comes with ‘picture perfect’ images in the online space. However, by applying this empowering mirror hack and creating a supportive environment at the mirror, you can take steps toward body positivity.
I hope this mirror hack helps you keep sight of the fact that your value goes far beyond numbers on a scale or the size of your jeans. Who you are deep inside, and this incredible body that carries you through life is worth appreciating.
I’d love to hear from you. Please share in the comments some of the ways that you practice body positivity for yourself and your loved ones.
- Alison Ross, LMFT
As we inch toward the conclusion of our 2020 election, you might notice that your mindset has entered Karpman's Drama Triangle. (1) This concept is a social model of human interaction during a conflict. It recognizes that, in stressful situations, our mind will develop an inner narrative about the problem. In it, we will cast those involved, including ourselves, into one of three roles: heroes, villains, and victims.
Take a moment to self-reflect. Who did you cast in each role as you endured 2020 or waited for election results? Politicians? Parties? Friends? Family Members? Neighbors?
When you reflect upon your cast of characters, you probably feel justified. "There is evidence that the label fits," you might say. I'm not here to tell you that you're wrong. I'm merely saying that according to the theory, your label is incomplete.
Think about it this way. Due to your political leanings, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, at least one person in your orbit has recently given you one of those labels. Does the label fit? Is it complete? Probably not. Because, here's the truth: There are no villains; There are no victims; There are no heroes. There are just a whole lot of human beings walking around--each of us with a little villain, a little victim, and a little hero inside.
So when those who differ from you come onto your radar, lose the label. Instead, think of them the way you want them to think of you--as a person, a complex, multi-faceted human being.
United, we stand.
Want to learn more about the drama triangle? Check out this great article at joyofconflict.com.
(1) “Karpman Drama Triangle - Wikipedia.” Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 10 June 2015, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karpman_drama_triangle.
I suppose 2020 is the year to deliver a drawn-out, nail-biting conclusion to our presidential election. If you feel stressed as you wait for results, you are not alone. There will be time for reflection, learning lessons, rising strong, and dealing with whatever is in front of us. But today, just breathe. Take care of your heart and soul as you move consciously through this uncertainty. Go ahead, do it now.
Take a deep, slow breath.
Inhale all the way to the bottom of your belly.
Then, sigh it out.
You'll be ok. We'll be ok. We're Americans. We know how to rise like the phoenix from the ashes. We will rise.
Are you feeling stress on the eve of American election day? Here's an exercise that can help you work through those feelings and create a safe inner space, no matter what's happening in the world around you.
Do you bring stress to the table when it's time to eat? Many of us do. We race through the day, checking off our to-do lists, and eating on the run. We take our emotional-stress to the cupboard for relief. And many of us, stuck in the diet-mentality, feel anxiety about the food itself. We eat while a voice in our head anxiously chatters, "I shouldn't be eating this."
As it turns out, being in fight-and-flight mode while eating affects how you metabolize your food. A fascinating study at Ohio State University found that when their participants ate while stressed, they metabolized their food less efficiently, which could increase fat storage. And their bodies generated more inflammation and plaque buildup, even when eating healthier foods. (1) The finding reveals that eating when stressed can increase weight and set us up for heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. We watch what we eat because we think it will make us healthier and perhaps thinner. But this study reveals that anxiously watching what you eat doesn't achieve that at all. It's another reason I don't recommend dieting.
Hi. I’m Alison Ross, founder of Non-Dieting Health in Agoura Hills, California. I’m a licensed psychotherapist and neurofeedback practitioner specializing in eating and body image. My favorite things are my family, my dogs, yoga and working with my clients.
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