Whatever your dress or pant size, shape, height, weight, skin tone, gender, sexual orientation or disability, it is difficult in this media driven society preoccupied with appearance to feel good about our bodies.
We are constantly besieged to improve almost every part of us, even those aspects we’ve felt okay about until we’re reminded that we’re not so okay.
How to stay sane in this atmosphere? Body image and body satisfaction-dissatisfaction should be a personal issue, but it isn’t. So much detailed focus is now part of public discourse. We’ve gotten so caught up on how we look and/or what we weigh, the size of clothing we wear, etc. that we forget so many other amazing aspects of having bodies, of being bodies.
So, if you’re willing to create a better body image for yourself, here are 3 simple exercises you can do any time of day (or night).
- First, become aware of where you are right this minute, as you read this. Are you sitting, standing, lying down or holding some other posture?
- Notice how you are connecting to the chair you’re sitting on, the couch you’re lying on, or the floor upon which you stand.
- Notice and feel the parts of your body that are interacting with the furniture or ground. Move a little bit, shift your weight a little bit, noticing how that feels.
- Lean forward; now lean to the side and back again. Yes, your body interacts with your environment in so many ways that have nothing, absolutely nothing to do with how you look.
- Pay attention to this throughout the day, and thank your body for connections to other physical matter.
- What are you wearing right now? (I know that may sound a bit odd, but we are not, repeat not in a chat room!)
- Notice what clothes you have on. How do they feel on your body? Are they tight, loose, a bit of both? What about the fabrics? How do they feel when you touch them with your fingers? How do they differ (or do they differ) from one another?
- Do you have a preference, based only on touch?
- My guess is that you once did pay attention to the colour, style, feel and fit of the clothes you are wearing – when you bought or got them. Now, you rarely pay such close attention – maybe when you’re choosing what to wear, but then you don’t notice how your body interacts with your clothing until something goes wrong.
- How about enjoying your tactile interaction a bit more, now, while you can.
We’ve done two body-related exercises now, both of which have nothing to do with your appearance.
- The third and last exercise is to very, very slowly raise one arm above your head, as high as you can, being aware of how your shoulder, neck, arm, hand and fingers feel as you move higher.
- Once your hand is as high as you can reach, wiggle your fingers a little, then wiggle them a lot – noticing how that feels. Now wave your whole arm around a bit, paying attention to how you feel as you do that.
- If you’re fortunate enough to have two arms, two hands, 10 fingers, etc., wave both arms, wiggle all ten fingers and notice, simply notice how that feels.
- Again, being able to move any part of our bodies is an amazing feat which we usually take for granted. By now, you already know what I’m about to write. Pay more attention to how your body moves.
None of these exercises take very long – perhaps 20 seconds of focused attention each. That’s only one minute. And if you focus for one minute several times a day over a period of three weeks, you’ll start to feel so much better about your body. In fact, you’ll begin to appreciate other aspects of your body and of your life.
It really is that simple. That is, if you actually do it.