10 Expert Tips For Tackling Body Insecurities
Can I get a #NewMe?
Body image, which basically means how you think about and feel in your physical appearance, is so connected to confidence and self-worth that having a negative body image can lead to shame, self-consciousness and even mental health problems - your view of your body can become totally distorted.
Sometimes it’s hard not to feel negative when you’ve been scrolling through endless streams of heavily edited pics featuring cosmetically-altered bodies on your timeline. Your own features can start to seem lacking in comparison, even though these pics don’t reflect what 99% of people see in the mirror. Fat rolls, marks, scars, asymmetry and all imperfections make us human, and acceptance of that is KEY. Which leads us to...
Positive body image. It’s about feeling confident and comfortable in your body just the way it is. It’s also about knowing that your physical appearance is only a teeny tiny part of who you are and doesn’t actually equal your value as a person.
Sounds ideal, right? That’s why we spoke to body image and mental health expert Natasha Devon (who also helped mastermind Channel 4’s body positivity series Naked Beach), to help guide us on small ways we can build up body positivity over time. Here are her top tips...
1. Face your worst fears
There’s a technique a bit like immersion therapy that Natasha is a fan of, called the ‘five-minute flash’, which helps to reduce anxiety. The theory is that if you have an intense fear of going out in a crop top because you don’t want anyone seeing your stomach, you absolutely should go out in a crop top. (Hear us out.)
Natasha described how your body can’t maintain a high level of anxiety about that for a whole five minutes, which means at some point you’ll start to feel differently, and you can get used to wearing a crop top with a lower level of anxiety.
2. Check your internal dialogue
If you’re walking past someone who glances at your legs and you find yourself thinking something like, “They’re thinking about how gross my legs are”, you need to start noticing and challenging your internal dialogue. That person was probably just looking at the pavement and, even if they did glance at your legs, they’re probably not thinking anything about them at all.
Remember that thoughts aren’t facts. Practise noticing and challenging the negative assumptions you’ve been making and the stories you’ve been telling yourself. Over time, the way you think about yourself will start to change.
3. Curate the wallpaper of your world
Or, in more simple terms, unfollow everyone on your timeline that makes you feel sh*t about yourself.
You control what you scroll through each day, so choose to make it an uplifting experience full of body positivity. Over time it’ll probably have a real impact on your values and how you think about yourself.
4. Monitor your compliments
If you’re finding yourself constantly commenting on Insta posts with the name of a body part and then some fire emojis, check yourself - you may be fuelling someone else’s idea that their best asset is their *insert body part*.
Next time someone posts a pic from their solo travel, even if their body looks great, why not comment on how inspired you are by their independence? It may help you and them to start thinking more about what’s really valuable in a person aside from appearance.
6. Realise what people really value
Think about your favourite person. What words would you use to describe them? Kind? Honest? Loyal? You would never say, “She has nice hair.”
One exercise you can do to help you remember what people actually value is to get four or five friends around you, give all of you a piece of paper and each write your name at the top. You all then pass the pieces of paper around the circle and write a reason why each other person is amazing. When you get your piece of paper back you not only get one huge ego boost, but you also have a reminder of what your friends really value in you.
7. Do authentic affirmations
You’ve most likely come across affirmations as a tip for boosting confidence. Doing affirmations is about looking in the mirror and saying some empowering and motivating sh*t to yourself.
Natasha’s tip for effective affirmations though is to use language that you would normally use. If “you’re utterly fabulous darling go slay” is not something you’d usually say, then don’t say it. Maybe saying something like “I’m enough” or “I’m good enough just the way I am” is more your thing. Then say it on repeat.
8. Challenge the use of the word health
Challenge studies about ‘health’ that are coming from companies trying to sell you products. We’re told lots of health lies by companies who want profit, so make sure you do your research and don’t believe everything you hear.
Top tip: if you’re looking for really reliable health advice trust in what your doctor says, not Instagram. However unsexy that seems.
9. Spend more time naked
Just spending 20 minutes naked in front of a mirror per day can help you to become more comfortable in your own skin over time. Yaas nakey time.
10. Surround yourself with body positive people
Spending time with people who have a diverse range of body shapes and are body confident is GREAT for you.
If you can spend naked time with them then ever better, but if that’s not on the cards (it probably isn’t) just enjoy soaking up how relaxed they are in their own skin. It could really help influence your own attitude towards being in yours.
Self-love and total body acceptance can sometimes be quite a journey as it’s all about practising a mindset and challenging a lot of what society has told us over the years. But we reckon these tips are a great way to start.