Loving You: Practice Body Positivity

In the bright, early morning light, standing in front of the mirror, take a moment. Look beyond the bleary-eyed reflection staring back. Look beyond those trivial imperfections that you fixate on. This simple, powerful act can be the first step toward body positivity, emphasizing acceptance, appreciation, and respect for all bodies.

Everyone’s body is different, with its unique strengths and qualities. Yet, many of us struggle to appreciate our bodies as they are. We often find ourselves tangled in an exhausting web of negative self-talk, comparing our bodies to unattainable ideals perpetuated by society. The consequence? We overlook our bodies’ inherent beauty and functionality, the things they enable us to do every day. A shift towards body positivity can break this cycle.

Science backs up the power of positive self-talk. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry found that self-affirmations can activate brain reward centers, helping improve self-esteem. When we begin our day with a compliment to ourselves, we’re doing more than just boosting our mood for the moment. We’re engaging in an act of self-affirmation that can contribute to a more positive self-perception over time.

Take, for example, Sarah, a yoga instructor from Colorado. Sarah struggled with body image issues for years until she started practicing body positivity. Every day, she would stand in front of the mirror, and instead of critiquing her body, she would compliment it. “I am strong,” she would say, “I am capable.” Over time, this practice helped Sarah shift her perspective on her body. Rather than viewing it as a source of stress or insecurity, she began to see it as a source of strength and resilience, a vessel that allowed her to guide others through their yoga journey.

Practicing body positivity is a journey that will only sometimes be smooth sailing. There will be good days when you feel an overwhelming love for your body and bad days when the old negative self-talk habits might creep in. It’s important to remember that this is a process. Progress may be slow, but every step towards a healthier perception of your body is a step in the right direction.

Notably, actress Jameela Jamil, a prominent advocate for body positivity, once said, “Body positivity isn’t just about being able to take a selfie in your underwear. It’s about mental health. It’s about representation. It’s about making everyone feel seen.” This statement encapsulates the essence of body positivity—it goes beyond just physical appearance. It’s about learning to value our bodies for all that they are and all that they do.

Let’s start our days a little differently. Let’s stand in front of the mirror and give ourselves the recognition we deserve. This small act of kindness towards ourselves can set the stage for a transformative journey toward body positivity.

But body positivity doesn’t end with a compliment in the mirror. It’s a broader approach to self-love that can be nurtured in various ways. How might you extend the practice of body positivity throughout your day? What are some other ways you can show appreciation and love for your body? Please share your thoughts in the comments.