These days, there's a strong body-positive movement taking place. But let's be honest, sometimes it's hard to wake up, look in the mirror, and embrace your own reflection with the barrage of messages on social media and TV. In fact, a recent study conducted by Yahoo! found that only one in seven Americans (men and women) feels "body positive" and loves the way they look.
So how can you learn how to love your body again? In order to be more positive about your body, try the following eight simple strategies.
Start Your Day with a Positive Affirmation
On the surface, these positive statements, such as "I am enough" or "I love and accept myself unconditionally," seem simple. However, the words you use can have a great impact on your self-image. While you may feel uncomfortable at first, the more you repeat the affirmation, the more you'll find yourself believing it and shifting your perspective. Write it down on a piece of paper and stick it on your mirror so you don't forget to start your day off on the right foot.
Find Your Mantra
Like affirmations, mantras embrace the power of words to shift your mindset. Find a mantra that reminds you to stay positive and call upon it throughout the day or whenever you hear your inner critic knocking at your door.
Work Out in the Morning
Not only does a morning sweat session unleash a flood of feel-good endorphins, it's a physical reminder that you're more than just your looks. Focus on how you feel, your strength, and all that your body enables you to do.
Write in a Journal
Grab a pen and a piece of paper (or download a journaling app on your phone). Then write down all the things you're grateful for in life, or all the things your body lets you do and the adventures it's taken you on. If you need to kick your inner critic to the curb, write him or her a letter telling them to take a hike, or write down your negative thoughts and throw them in the trash—literally.
Take a Break from Social Media
As much as we count on social media to inspire us with healthy recipes and to motivate us to stick with our workout routine, sometimes it can have the opposite effect. Take fitspiration, for instance. When you constantly see images of six-packs and model physiques, you may start to feel like that's the norm and that your body is not. Remember, social media is not reality and you're only seeing the highlight reel. Put down your phone and take a break from social media.
Watch Your Language
Do you tend to talk negatively about your body in front of your friends? One way to learn how to love your body is to ditch those negative words. You'd never speak like that about a good friend, so why talk badly about yourself? Instead, talk to yourself, and about yourself, like you would speak to a friend.
Meditation helps you tune into not only the present moment but also your inner self. It helps you realize that thoughts are just thoughts and they don't define you. Luckily, you don't have to sit in the lotus position for two hours a day. You can spend up to 10 minutes in a quiet place and focus on your breathing, or you can try a meditation app for some guided assistance.
Strike a Power Pose
When you find your self-confidence lagging, it's time to go into a power pose. No, not exactly like Beyoncé. Stand up straight with your hands on your hips (one hand or two). According to Harvard professor Amy Cuddy, power poses like this help you decrease stress and feel more confident.
Remember that changing your self-image doesn't happen overnight. Start with these eight tips, and like any other habit, it takes time (and consistency) to build up your body-positive muscles and learn how to love your body.