Body positive messages on social media have helped millions of women feel empowered in their bodies. It's hard to go on Tik Tok or Instagram without seeing posts promoting the body positivity movement. While this powerful shift in tone reflects a reassuring trend, there are still concerns among some health experts that the movement doesn't go far enough to help women feel better about their bodies in any real way.
So how can you incorporate routines into your daily life to change how you feel about your physicality? Research suggests that practicing self-compassion and self-care can go a long way toward improving your body image and boosting your daily outlook.
6 Ways to Practice Body Positivity Every Day
Studies have shown that how you feel about your body is a strong predictor of overall quality of life. Published reports show that having a positive body image can help to improve your overall mental and physical well-being. Alternatively, a negative body image is associated with low self-esteem, depression, and can even lead to disordered eating.
Given that your personal beliefs about your body can impact your health, it makes sense to take time each day to promote personal body positivity. If scrolling through Instagram isn't giving you the body boost you need, consider incorporating one of the practices into your daily routine.
1. Schedule Mindful Meditation
A daily meditation practice can work wonders for both physical and mental health. And you don't have to dedicate hours of your day to reap the rewards. A 2019 study published in Behavioural Brain Research showed that novice meditators were able to improve memory, attention, and mood after eight weeks with just 13 minutes of guided meditation each day.
To get started, schedule a short break in your day when you can give yourself the gift of quiet, calm space. Schedule it like you schedule all of your other important activities. Then use a guided meditation script to guide your practice. There are also smartphone apps, like Headspace, that offer scripted meditations to encourage body positivity.
2. Practice Body Positivity Movement
Of course, any type of physical activity can help to improve heart health and other markers of medical health. But there are certain types of movement that can have an impact that goes beyond the physical.
Specific forms of meditative movement, such as Qigong or Tai Chi (especially those that focus on posture, rhythm, and breathing) can help to relieve anxiety and stress, promote better sleep, and promote a better sense of well-being. And these forms of physical movement are easy to incorporate into your daily routine because you don't need to invest in any special equipment or workout clothes. Get started by practicing basic tai chi moves first thing in the morning or before you go to bed.
3. Engage with Others
The power of community cannot be underestimated. In 2021, the World Health Organization identified five fundamental principles of self-care, two of which were community involvement, and community empowerment. Being part of a community can help you to define who you are, and even help you to feel more secure and nurtured.
So how do you find your tribe? You'll find plenty of online options to support women's empowerment and body positivity. For instance, The Body Positive Alliance is a student-led non-profit organization that seeks to empower individuals regardless of their weight or size. Or you might prefer a professional group like LeanIn.org or a mentorship program like Female Strong. You can also look for organizations in your neighborhood, church, or work environment.
4. Celebrate Body Positive Quotes
Your world is filled with messages that can have a negative impact on your feelings of self-worth. Ads for health clubs, workout apparel, or skincare products can send a message that you aren't good enough if you don't look a certain way. So why not counter those voices with positive affirmations?
Fill your space with messages of empowerment from women that you admire. Grab a Sharpie and pack of post-it notes, and decorate your car, your bedroom or your workspace with inspirational quotes.
"This body had carried me through a hard life. It looked exactly the way it was supposed to." -Veronica Roth
"In order to find real happiness, you must learn to love yourself for the totality of who you are and not just what you look like." - Portia de Rossi
"You can't hate yourself happy. You can't criticize yourself thin. You can't shame yourself worthy. Real change begins with self-love and self-care." - Jessica Ortner
"Speak to your body in a loving way. It's the only one you've got, it's your home, and it deserves your respect." - Iskra Lawrence
"Life is so much more beautiful and complex than a number on a scale." - Tess Munster
"Don't waste so much time thinking about how much you weigh. There is no more mind-numbing, boring, idiotic, self-destructive diversion from the fun of living." - Meryl Streep
5. Stifle Social Media
Your favorite social media channels can be a welcome distraction when you're feeling overwhelmed at work or at home. They can also help you to feel connected to friends and family.
But those scrolling habits can derail your self-confidence as well. Several studies have connected social media exposure to body dissatisfaction (especially in young women) and one study even found that browsing on Instagram was associated with lower levels of body appreciation.
So why not take a break? Of course, we're not suggesting that you forgo all of your favorite stories and posts. But be mindful of the impact it has on your demeanor. Tools like RescueTime or ScreenTime (for iOS) can help you to monitor your social media use. There are even browser extensions (like StayFocusd) that you can use set time limits for different social media sites.
6. Practice Supportive Self Talk
We are often our own worst critics. In many cases, we would never speak to others the way we speak to ourselves. Do you find that you send negative messages to yourself about your body or your abilities throughout the day?
Well, there's good news when it comes to self-talk. Studies have suggested that positive self-talk may have a greater impact than negative self-talk. So if you can reassure yourself throughout the day with mental messages of support and empowerment you may be able to counteract any messages of self-doubt that creep in.
Take some time to develop a calming and supportive mantra for yourself. A mantra is a word or phrase that can help you to center your thoughts and redirect your focus. Consider these options:
My body is beautiful, strong, and powerful
I am enough, simply because of who I am
I choose to feel strong right now
I can accomplish anything I set my mind to do
My body deserves love and respect
Give Yourself the Gift of Care
Remember to reach out for help if you need it. You may be able to boost body positivity by engaging community, practicing meditation, and using positive self-talk, but you might also benefit from one-on-one support. There are behavioral health professionals who specialize in dealing with issues surrounding body image. Give yourself the gift of care if it will set you on a path of better wellness and health.