No matter how confident we are and no matter how comfortable we are in our skin, every single one of us suffers from poor body image every once in a while. It can be debilitating and can spiral out of control if not handled the right way.
But here’s the thing: Even the world’s most “beautiful” supermodels admit to having poor body image sometimes. In a world that glamorizes thin bodies in favor of health, the damage ends up falling on those women who are exposed to unrealistic ideals of beauty or made to feel that they need to look a certain way to be worthy.
Luckily, there are a few easy ways to get out of our own heads and remind ourselves of the gorgeous, badass women we are. Here are some tips for not letting negative body image thoughts get the best of you.
Get off Instagram
It’s our instinct to scroll through Instagram for inspiration and connectedness, but a recent study shows that social media, and Instagram specifically, can have a negative impact on a person by raising their anxiety and perpetuating the belief that they’re not good enough. In fact, it “easily makes girls and women feel as if their bodies aren’t good enough as people add filters and edit their pictures in order for them to look ‘perfect,’” according to one of the study’s conductors. Put the phone down, delete the app for a while if you have to, and remember that you’re not really missing anything if you miss a few posts. They will be there when you get back.
Get into the gym
You already know that the gym provides a positive physical effect, but it also offers a positive mental effect. Just getting to a class and reminding yourself of the strength and ability your unique body provides you with is a refreshing reminder that we are all more than what we see in the mirror. Studies show it has also been proven to reduce anxiety and depression.
Talk to a friend
You’ve probably heard this one before. Chances are the horrible things you are comfortable thinking or saying about yourself are world’s apart from the things you’d think or say about a friend. Being with someone who loves and supports you for the person you are is a great reminder that you are loved and a great way to share experiences. We all have things we are self-conscious about. Sometimes, getting that reminder from a friend who you admire helps us work through our own insecurities.
Look at images of curvy models
Models like Ashley Graham have changed the way we think about standards of beauty for the better, but as it turns out, curvy models are not just beneficial in shifting the conversation, they’re beneficial for our health. A recent study found that looking through images of plus-size models gave women “enhanced psychological health.”
Make a list (and check it twice)
Don’t laugh, we’re serious! Sit down and make a list of all the things that you are grateful for in your life. Your friends, family, a pet, a recent job promotion, a pair of shoes that you got on super sale—once it’s all spelled out, it’s easier to see that there are so many things to focus on in life besides getting caught up about how our butt looks in a pair of jeans.
Fake it ’til you make it
In a 2015 TED talk, Ashley Graham revealed that when she looks in the mirror, she delivers praise to the parts of her body that she does not feel comfortable with, even when she’s having a bad confidence day. Graham admitted that at one point she “would go home and look in the mirror and hate what I saw,” but faced those insecurities head on and ultimately defeated them. “I felt free, once I realized I was never going to fit the narrow mold that society wanted me to fit in. I was never going to be perfect enough for an industry that defines perfection from the outside in, and that’s okay.”