How Mindfulness Can Help You Love Your Body
Most of us, especially us ladies, have a love/hate relationship with our bodies from a very early age. We spend a great deal of our time on this planet comparing ourselves to everyone else and determining that our “goods” just aren’t good enough. And while we judge ourselves on a daily (if not hourly) basis, we treat our bodies less than kindly.
Sadly, in my youth, I had more of a hate/hate relationship with my body. I hated that my stomach was never flat enough, hated that my hair wasn’t thick enough, hated that my thighs touched, and hated that my skin wasn’t flawless as the women I saw on TV and in magazines. And, to make matters worse, I treated my body, the greatest gift I have ever been given, like an enemy – polluting it with sugar and processed food, nicotine, alcohol and way too much caffeine and I never let my body get enough regenerative sleep.
Well, all of this self-hatred and mistreatment eventually manifested itself in a terrifying cancer diagnosis. My body, which I had abused with thought and action, was suddenly going to die within 3 short months and I very suddenly wanted to save its life. I knew instinctively that in order to save it I was going to have to make peace with it and yes, LOVE it. My body was no longer a target of my frustration and disappointment; it was now my prized possession – warts and all.
How Mindfulness Leads to Self Love
By now you know I am an advocate for mindfulness because it has completely transformed my health and my life and I want to shout from the rooftops and share my personal story with anyone who will listen.
It is more important than I can even articulate that you love your body, truly LOVE it and honor it and be grateful for it. Grateful even if you think your hair is too stringy; grateful even if you think you’re three inches too short; grateful even if you still get acne; grateful for all of it, every precious cell that is uniquely and wonderfully YOU.
Mindfulness can help you start to love yourself and your body, which is the most important key in radiant health.
Meditate on Feeling Well
The minute you stop obsessing over whether or not you’re thin enough or pretty enough or have big enough biceps is the minute you start to transform your life and your health. Throughout the day try and focus on feeling well – simply that. Whenever an urge to compare yourself or hate your body because it’s not this or it’s not that, stop… take a breath… and focus on how you feel in the moment. Were you able to take a deep breath without any problems? Good, be grateful for it. Do you have any major pain in your body? If not, be grateful for it.
By meditating on feeling well instead of feeling good enough you automatically will begin to feel a deeper sense of gratitude which will cause you to make healthier choices as far as what you put into your body.
Treat Yourself and Your Body the Way You’d Treat a Loved One’s
Be more mindful of the self-talk that happens every day in your head. It’s pretty gruesome isn’t it?
Can you imagine saying to your nine-year-old daughter or niece what you say to yourself all day long? Imagine walking up to her and looking into her sweet, innocent eyes and then exclaiming, “God your arms are fat! And what’s with that outfit? Don’t you know print shirts make your stomach look ridiculously big? Why are you crying? God I hate it when you cry – you look so weak when you cry.” No, you simply would NEVER say these things to a loved one, especially a child, so why not treat yourself like a child that you love?
You would never allow your nine-year-old niece to eat nothing but fast food and ice cream and smoke a pack of cigarettes every day because it will make her unbelievably sick. And yet, you may not bat an eye at making these choices for yourself.
Be mindful of the thoughts that move around in your head. When you catch yourself being cruel, stop and treat yourself like a loved child. You will be floored with the amount of love and respect you are capable of showing yourself.
“Awake” Oil on Canvas ~ Barbara Wolkinger
Her expressionistic compositions unite color and shape to create a spiritual sense of harmony. See more here
Be Mindful of Those Creeping Negative Thoughts
When you notice yourself having a negative thought about your body (I still can’t fit into those jeans!), stop in the moment, release the negative thought and replace it with a positive visualization – in this instance, see yourself wearing that pair of jeans. How do you feel in them? What do you look like? What are you wearing with them?
Anytime this happens with any negative thought about your body (I still can’t walk up 4 flight of GD stairs without huffing and puffing!) – stop, release that negative thought and replace it with a positive visualization. See and feel yourself walk up many flights of stairs with energy and you’re not winded even a little bit!
The moral of the story here is, stop taking your body for granted. Don’t wait until a doctor diagnoses you with something awful, or worse, life threatening. Start being mindful of the wonderful things your body does for you on a daily basis and love it just the way it is. And, once you truly love and respect your body, you will naturally lose that weight and feel and look better as a result.
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