Our emotional health underlies our physical health. When we love our bodies, we treat them lovingly and care for them. We send messages to our minds and the cells of our bodies, letting them know we want to live and thrive. Seeing our emotions as allies on our journey is a key component of emotional health.
Here are 10 ways you can really love your body:
1. Listen to what your body is telling you.
You body tells you when it wants to eat, and when it wants to rest. Pay attention to your body, and you will naturally make good food choices, and get the sleep you need.
2. Don’t stay in a single position too long.
When you’re working, or watching television or reading, it’s easy to tune out your body. Make it a priority to stand and move around. Take a brief walk every hour, or stand and stretch.
3. Exercise, but don’t hurt yourself.
Regular vigorous exercise is good for you, but again, listen to your body. Don’t push yourself to the point of pain. Instead, pay attention to what your body wants, and build your exercise routine around activities you enjoy.
4. Wear clothes that make you feel safe.
Clothes not only protect us from the elements, they also give us a sense of psychological protection. Dress for the way you feel every day. Sometimes you may want to be sexy and wear your shortest skirt. Other times you may feel more comfortable covering up. Honor your own internal guidance.
5. Own your sexuality.
Part of loving your body is owning your own sexuality, and allowing yourself to enjoy it. When you give yourself permission to explore your sexuality in a safe and playful way, it lets you feel that all parts of your body are lovable.
6. Don’t wait until you are the “perfect size.”
Do not allow your weight to determine how you live your life. Go to parties, get your picture taken, go on dates, speak in public, and do it now – not some time in the future, when you’re “thin enough.” When you live fully and follow your heart, you won’t have to turn to food or other substances as a source of satisfaction.
7. Have a range of clothes sizes in your closet:
Every woman’s body changes in size, from day to day, month to month, and year to year. Keep a range of sizes in your wardrobe, so your body will always feel loved and accepted even as you move toward your ideal weight.
8. Stop weighing yourself.
Your beauty, and your self-worth, are not related to a number on the scale. Love your body enough not to monitor its weight constantly.
9. Do not compare yourself to others.
Women are conditioned by society and the media to constantly measure themselves against other women, especially concerning our bodies. Comparisons are pointless and painful. Love your body just the way it is, and regard the bodies of other women as lovable, as well.
10. Smile when you look in the mirror.
Make looking in the mirror an opportunity, not to criticize what you see, but to be your own good friend. Give yourself a smile every time you see your reflection.
Instead of thinking your thighs are too heavy, bring your attention back to your pretty eyes, or the angle of your good cheekbones. Recognize and love your body. It’s the vessel that houses you, and asks only for your care and attention.