When most people want to improve how they feel about their bodies, they often focus on moving more—not taking time out to relax and meditate. But according to a University of Texas–Austin study, finding your inner peace may help chase away feelings of body dissatisfaction. In the study, women who participated in guided self-compassion meditation for about 20 minutes daily for three weeks reported an increased appreciation for their bodies. How? “Meditation requires you to practice being present in the moment, which has a cleansing effect on the subconscious mind, clearing out the body-shaming, self-hating garbage that gets stuck there,” explains Ashlee Davis, a yoga instructor and holistic health coach who helps her clients develop a positive relationship with food and their bodies.
Take action! You can listen to audio files of the exact meditations used in the study at selfcompassion.org. But really, most forms of meditation can be effective, says Davis. Check out local meditation classes or download a meditation app like Inscape, and commit to a daily practice.
Psst! You should also check out these 30 ways to boost your self-confidence instantly.
Ditch negative self-talk
“My thighs are so big.” “I wish my arms looked like hers.” “I wish my stomach was flatter.” Living in a day and age where we’re surrounded by images of perfectly Photoshopped people, it’s not uncommon to have these thoughts. But studies show that negative self-talk can have a detrimental impact on our confidence and mood, says Lindsay Henderson, PsyD, a psychologist who treats patients virtually via telehealth app, LiveHealth Online.
Take action! “Start paying attention to how you communicate with yourself, and track both the positive and negative examples of it throughout each day. Noticing and observing this self-talk is the first step toward changing it,” says Henderson. Next, start challenging these messages. “Write down things you like about yourself, and keep those positive messages on hand so you can fight back next time negative self-talk rears its ugly head. The seemingly insignificant act of challenging your own internal thoughts has a remarkable impact on one’s emotions.” Here’s how to stop the damage of negative self-talk.