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Published on December 3, 2020

3 Reasons Why Body Positivity Is Important

3 Reasons Why Body Positivity Is Important

How body positive are you? Yes, we should all love our bodies unconditionally—just as they are. However, what happens when we don’t? What do we do and how does that affect us?

Unfortunately, we live in a society that encourages us to strive for perfection. This has only created unrealistic expectations about how we should look and feel.

Let’s face it, people are treated differently based on the type of body that they have. Anybody who doesn’t ascribe to ideal body weight, as defined by society, experiences shame, self-sabotage, and low self-worth.

Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. These statistics prove that the battle of body positivity has a long way to go.[1]

What Is Body Positivity?

Body positivity is the idea that people should feel happy with and proud of their bodies, whatever shape or size it is. In 1996, the term “body positive” was first coined when a psychotherapist and a patient who was undergoing treatment for eating disorders created a website known as thebodypositive.org.[2]

In the last few years, we have seen huge shifts happen in conversations with regards to body positivity. Big brands and companies are jumping on board and taking a stand against unachievable body standards. However, we still have a long way to go.

Body positivity is a mental and physical state of being that shifts the focus away from peoples’ physical looks and places emphasis on their personal strengths.

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What Is the Body Positivity Movement?

The body positivity movement was first created in the 1960s to empower women to embrace their physical bodies and rid themselves of the shame associated with obesity stereotypes. As a social movement, it strives to help people make sense of how social media and its messages affect the way we view our bodies.

By better understanding the effect that such influences have, the hope is that people can develop a healthier and more loving relationship with their bodies.

In the words of Caroline Caldwell,

“In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.”

However, the body positivity movement has been criticized by some for its lack of inclusivity, suggesting that there is still a tendency to show predominantly “white” and traditionally “pretty women” or “good-looking men” who do not deviate that far from the accepted norm.[3] Therefore, this movement still has a long way to go before achieving its goals.

3 Reasons Why Body Positivity Is Important

Let’s face it—we’ve all looked in the mirror at some point in our lives and judged a specific area of our body as not being good enough. However, when you start ruminating on your perceived flaws, you risk falling into the trap of body image distortion. A desire to be taller, shorter, or thinner can harm your mental well-being.

Wishing that you were someone whom you are not is the fastest way to create a life of pain and suffering. This is why there is nothing more important than loving the body that you were given.

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Let’s explore 3 reasons why body positivity is so important.

1. Fosters Radical Self-Love

We live in a body-obsessed culture that thrives on idealized notions of what a perfect body should look like. Not surprisingly, a lot of people are made to feel that their body is something they should be ashamed of. Instead of learning to love and accept themselves as they are, they go on a life-long mission to “fix” themselves.

Body acceptance is an act of radical self-love. It goes beyond what you see on the outside. You should never feel that you have to change something about yourself to fit in.

To fully accept yourself and your body means to honor and embrace all sides of who you are. It’s a daily practice, but once you start growing into yourself and accepting the skin that you’re in, others’ standards of what is beautiful will not phase you.

Your body and your choices are no one’s business. Don’t let anyone tell you who you are. Stay in your lane, and continue being your amazing self. It’s enough.

2. Improves Mental Health

How you feel about your body affects your self-esteem, which, in turn, impacts your mental health. The challenge with negative thinking is that once you start ruminating about one area of your life, it becomes a lot easier to ruminate about other areas of your life as well.

A study found that people with weight preoccupations or body dysmorphic disorder display higher levels of symptoms for depression and anxiety and are more likely to have suicidal thoughts.[4]

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The next time that you find yourself having unkind thoughts about your body, check-in with your mental and emotional state. Ask yourself, “Am I feeling overwhelmed or anxious right now?” If so, what area of my life is causing me to feel this way and why?”

Mindfulness-based practices are a great way to connect to your body’s intelligence and tune into what you need to feel more grounded. Talk to your body in a loving way. Give it grace, love, and compassion.

In the words of Nayyirah Waheed,

“And I said to my body softly, ‘I want to be your friend.’ It took a long breath and replied, ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this.”

Make it a daily practice to develop body positivity and maintain a healthy body image. In a world that is constantly trying to change you, make it your life’s mission to stay true to who you are. As Rachel Pate said, “your weight does not define your worth.”

3. Challenges Social Media Beauty Standards

When you scroll through Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, it has become the norm to see a slew of perfectly crafted male and female bodies. These unrealistic images have become the standard by which we measure the ideal body.

Be mindful of the images you see online. What you see on social media is not always real. In fact, a lot of photographs are tuned and modified to make people look younger and skinnier. As a result, a lot of men and women end up paying for body modification surgeries to change their bodies in the hope that they will be accepted.

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Luckily, advocates of the body positivity movement have made strides to retaliate against the culture of body shaming. They are using social media as a platform to create change.

One increasing trend on social media is the posting of body positive content that aims to challenge narrow beauty ideals. Instead, they are promoting acceptance and appreciation of all bodies.[5]

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to actively challenge male and female body image stereotypes via social media. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have the potential to positively influence people in such a way that all people feel a sense of belonging. We have a long way to go still, but anything is possible.

Let’s pave the way so that the younger generation of boys and girls are encouraged to strive for more energy and vibrance instead of obsessing about diets, weight loss, and body perfection.

Final Thoughts

Nobody should ever have to apologize for their body type. Nobody should ever feel that they have to change something about themselves just to be accepted or fit in. You are perfect just the way you are. Own that truth, and don’t allow anyone to make you question your worth.

Body positivity has shed light on the truth that we are more than just our bodies. You are a whole person. You have thoughts, feelings, and actions that are a part of who you are. When you show your body love and acceptance, you give yourself space to focus on all of the other amazing parts of who you are.

The most important relationship that you will ever have in this lifetime is the one that you have with yourself. Celebrate your beautiful body. It is the only place that you have to live, so honor and take care of it.

Featured photo credit: AllGo – An App For Plus Size People via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Ashley Elizabeth

Resilience Mastery Coach and Motivational Speaker

5 Reasons Why Keeping a Mood Journal Is Good For Your Mental Health 5 Ways to Help Yourself Advance Your Mental Strength 13 Simple Habits to Cultivate Self-Compassion 5 Steps to Bounce Back Fast When Life Knocks You Down How to Be More Self-Aware and Strive to Be a Better Person

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

How To Focus on the Positive To Achieve Your Goal In Life

How To Focus on the Positive To Achieve Your Goal In Life

Focusing on the positive seems harder than ever. A global pandemic, civil unrest, and political tensions galore have made thies year tough.

In spite of all the challenges this year has thrown at you, there are ways you can stay positive and continue to pursue your life’s goals. Remember, more trials are yet to come. You need to be able to overcome them all in order to turn your dreams into realities.

Motivation can be tough to come by in times like these. Here’s how you can keep your head up and keep moving forward:

1. Perform an Attitude Check

Whenever you hit a snag in your life, take a step back. Think about how you’re reacting to the situation. Are you thinking rationally? Is your behavior warranted? Are your actions helping or hurting your cause?

If you take the time to evaluate yourself, you’ll be able to stop negativity in its tracks. With a little practice, you’ll learn to reframe pessimistic thoughts into more positive, realistic ones.

2. Keep a Journal

Even on the bleakest of days, you can come up with one shred of silver lining. All it takes is a little reflection.

At least once a day, make a point to jot down something good about your day in your journal. By focusing on your blessings, you’ll start to see more and more of them.

Also, use this journal to record progress you make toward your life goals. If you want to become a professional athlete, write down your day’s workout routine. Day by day, you’ll see just how much progress you’ve made. Look back at your journal entries on tough days, and they will remind you of how far you’ve come.

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3. Surround Yourself With Similar People

When you’re on your own, it’s much easier to get discouraged. The solution is to find a support group.

Communities exist for every conceivable interest. If you’re a freelance writer, Writers Guild of America can help you hone your skills. If you’re a combat veteran, All the Way Home can get you outdoors with other wounded warriors. If you like trivia, join a local quiz bowl team.

Don’t underestimate The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You.

4. Quantify Your Goals

Pursuing your goals will get frustrating if you don’t give yourself specific markers of success. The solution is to put hard numbers to your goals.

For example, if your life goal is to become wealthy, how rich is rich enough? Will you be satisfied with $1 million? What about $10 million? Unless you have a figure in mind, you’ll never feel like you have enough.

Even more ambiguous goals can be quantified. Maybe being happy for you means getting out of debt and spending at least 10 hours per week with family and friends.

Learn about how to set goals in this article: How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully

2. Remember Your ‘Why’

While reaching for your goals, you can’t lose sight of your “why.” This is what pushes you through the bad days and motivates you to keep going. Without a “why,” your goals might start to seem arbitrary.

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If you have a goal to run a marathon, what gets you on your feet every morning? Is it to get in shape? Perhaps it’s to feel a sense of accomplishment as you cross the finish line. Keeping your “why” top of mind will get you out the door when you don’t feel like training.

3. Tell Others About Your Progress

Public recognition is a powerful thing. When you hit a new milestone, share it publicly. Not only will you feel good doing so, but you’ll be more motivated to reach the next one.

Say you have a sales quota at work. Announce when you’ve hit 50%, 75%, and 100% of your goal, and encourage others to do the same. Celebrating together encourages the whole team to stay positive and to reach higher.

4. Develop a Mantra

“Just do it.” Sound familiar? Nike’s motto is also an excellent example of a mantra. A mantra is a word or phrase you repeat to yourself for motivation when times get tough.

Mantras are commonly used by professional athletes who need to keep a level head while performing under extreme physical stress.[1] But mantras work just as well to get people through mentally or emotionally taxing periods.

Make your mantra meaningful and easy to remember. When you need a boost, you can say it out loud or simply think it to yourself. You can get some inspirations from these 50 Self-Affirmations to Help You Stay Motivated Every Day.

5. Try Meditation

When you get too wrapped up in the negative, it can be tough to think your way out of it. When that happens, turn to meditation. Meditation helps you calm your mind and see problems with fresh eyes.

The best part is, there’s no “wrong” way to meditate. You can do a guided meditation, or simply shut yourself away in a quiet place and listen to your breathing.

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If you’re not sure where to start, download a meditation app. Popular options include Headspace, Calm, and Sattva. After a few sessions, you’ll feel the difference.

6. Make Time for Yourself

Pursuing your goals and fighting off the worries of the world can take a toll on your wellbeing. A little “me time” can get you back on track.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a day off. Use this day to indulge in a hobby, a favorite TV show, or even just a nap. When you get back to the grind, you’ll be that much more productive.

Learn How to Take Time for Yourself and Restore Your Energy.

7. Get Enough Sleep

How many people do you know who do their best work when they don’t get enough sleep? Chances are, it’s the same as the number of Super Bowl rings in the Cleveland Browns’ trophy case (hint: zero).

When you’re sleep deprived, a positive outlook can be elusive.[2] Develop a night routine that helps you put your devices away and get to bed on time.

If you still struggle to get the sleep you need, try supplements like melatonin. Speak with your doctor if conditions like sleep apnea are interrupting your rest.

8. Exercise Regularly

No doubt: Exercise is important for your physical health. But did you know it can also lift you up mentally and emotionally? Exercise releases endorphins in your brain. These chemicals combat pain, stress, and even depression.

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Unless you live on a farm an hour outside the nearest city, you’ll find a gym nearby. If a gym membership isn’t in your budget, you can do calisthenic exercises at home or take up running. Another good option is yoga, which can also improve your balance and focus.

9. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

What you put into your body is just as important as what you do with it. A healthy diet coupled with plenty of water is key if you want to function at your peak. Junk foods, sugary drinks, and alcohol can sap your energy and harm your self-esteem.

If you have trouble sticking with your diet, set up a meal plan. Portion out meals for yourself so you don’t eat too much or too little. Set reminders in your calendar to ensure you sip water throughout the day. Here’s How to Find a Healthy Eating Plan That Actually Works for You.

10. Switch Up Your Routine

Doing the same thing day in and day out can get old. And when your life gets stale, you may struggle for motivation or a positive outlook.

Don’t let yourself fall into a rut. When you do, try a different approach. Changing course even slightly can help you see things in a new light. Instead of taking a walk at noon, for instance, could you go on one before work?

Take this same approach to your professional development. If you’re sick of learning about physics, it’s going to be tough to become the next Albert Einstein. What about a dose of math or chemistry?

Final Thoughts

Despite all these tactics you can use to stay positive and accomplish what you want in life, the most important one can be summed up in three words: Don’t give up!

Quitting won’t get you any closer to your goals, nor will it put you in a positive headspace. Use this guide to keep moving forward no matter how difficult life can be.

More on How To Think Positive

Featured photo credit: Sander Crombach via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Built For Athletes: 6 Real Mantras Used By Elite Athletes
[2] Harvard: Sleep and Mental Health

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