How To Improve Your Relationship With Your Body

By Hannah Crownover

Can you imagine a problem that is so widespread that it affects millions of people in the U.S., let alone the world, across all genders, races, ethnicities, and sexualities? Why doesn’t it get the same attention as other major issues in our world like unemployment, immigration, or chronic diseases? The answer: because it’s something that we are all hiding. Almost everyone has experienced negative body image at some point in their lives, and it can lead to depression, anxiety, or the development of an eating disorder if not addressed. Psychologists have proven that the way we think about ourselves on a daily basis is key in shaping our body image. There is no guarantee that you will automatically love your body after reading this article, but these tips can help you develop strategies to start looking at yourself with a healthier and more positive mindset ❤️

Appreciate all that your body can do.

Take the time to recognize all that your body does each and every day, whether it’s dancing, laughing, dreaming, breathing, or walking — your body is capable of incredible things! In order for it to move the way it does and power you through your day, you have to sustain it with a healthy lifestyle. Don’t strive for perfection; strive for balance. Incorporate mindful eating and physical activity (that you actually enjoy doing) into your daily routine. Mindful eating is all about listening to your body’s hunger cues and eating whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible, but also allowing yourself to eat one of your favorite cookies or a slice of pizza when you really crave it. Don’t treat food as a punishment or reward; treat it as nourishment for your body.

Look at yourself as a whole person.

You are so much more than your weight or shape.Maybe you are a gifted poet, a creative chef, or a beautiful singer. These wonderful talents/skills that you possess have nothingto do with what your body looks like. These characteristics are part of what make you you, and they hold so much more value than a number on a scale or what you see in the mirror.

Surround yourself with positive people.

It is much easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around supportive, uplifting people who like you for who you naturally are. If you have people in your life who are constantly critical of the way you look or who are just very negative in general, it may be causing you more distress than you think. People rub off on us, in both good ways and bad.

Be critical of media (especially social media).

Before you edit a photo of yourself to post on social media, consider why you are doing so and how this makes you feel. Remember — social media is just a highlight reel. No one looks perfectly toned at all times of the day or has flawless skin every day of the week. Comparing yourself to others’ best pictures will not improve anything about your life or how you feel about yourself.

Use the time and energy you might use to be critical of yourself to help others.

It may sound selfish, but often times we feel better about ourselves when we reach out to other people. Not only will you be making a positive change in the world, but you may start developing a more positive mindset as well. There are countless volunteer opportunities on campus and in the Milwaukee community — check out MU’s Center for Leadership, Service, and Involvement (CLSI) in AMU 137, or the Center for Community Service online.

If you or someone you know are continuing to struggle with body image and need help, the Counseling Centeris a great resource for students.

Take care of yourselves MU!


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