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As spring break and summer nears, you may feel a little bit of body anxiety or insecurities creeping up. We have all heard phrases such as, “It’s swimsuit season, I need to diet” or “I need to work on my beach body!” If so, you may feel insecure about the way you look, feel uncomfortable in a swim suit, experience negative judgments about your body, or notice that you are comparing your body to other people’s bodies. If you are struggling to feel confident in your own skin, try a few of these tips!
Whenever you notice yourself making a judgment about yourself or another person, simply challenge yourself to state your judgment factually. You will probably find that judgments come from emotion and not facts. For example, if you have the thought “I look gross in this bathing suit.” Try saying, “I don’t like how this bathing suit fits.”
No person looks the same; our bodies are all different and unique. When you compare your body to another person’s body, you’re making the assumption that you are supposed to look the same. Health comes in many different shapes and sizes. Sunflowers and roses look very different, but both are beautiful. When you compare, try asking yourself how this impacts you and if it’s a realistic comparison. This will give you information about your behavior and why it’s not helpful or accurate.
Take some time each day to remind yourself what certain parts of your body do for you. Do your arms help you paint? Do your legs help you get to where you need to go? Even thinking about your ability to breathe – your body is pretty impressive.
Sometimes our reaction to shame or insecurity can be to avoid. If you tend to avoid looking at your body or wearing swim suits and summer clothes, the most helpful thing for your body image is to face your body. Start getting to know your body and spend time with it. Remember to focus on your whole body – not just the parts you dislike. This will help you learn to know and appreciate your whole body!
Other times, our reaction to insecurity or anxiety can be to check, hyper focus, or obsess. This might mean constantly weighing yourself, spending a lot of time in the mirror, or pinching areas of the body to check for fat. Try to challenge yourself to notice this behavior when it happens and reduce the amount of times you do it or refuse to use the checking behavior. Try using self-soothing behaviors instead such as coloring, drinking some tea, listening to music, or talking to a friend.
There is no perfect body. Try to remember, that at the end of the day, you’re only human. Everyone has things they do not like about themselves and no one feels 100% confident every day. What’s important is checking in on the judgments, noticing how you talk to yourself, and noticing how it impacts you.
Sometimes body anxiety or insecurities can lead to problems with eating habits or food anxiety. If you’re struggling with body image, eating habits, and/or food anxiety, please consider calling to make an appointment with Julia Harris at the Summit Counseling Center. You can contact us by calling 678-893-5300.