Poor body image, and the constant desire to change our bodies, is a common problem among so many people in our culture. With that in mind, I thought I"d share some helpful body image-related mental exercises in this latest blog. Whether you"ve been battling with poor self-esteem and negative body image over a long period of time, or just having one of those "I feel gross" days, there are things we can all do to help adjust our mental state, put things in perspective, and, hopefully, give less power to the cycle of poor body image (and the various ways that often manifests shame, eating disorders, chronic dieting, compulsive exercise, mood swings, avoiding social interactions).
First, some general background and words of encouragement. If you are reading this and can relate to poor/obsessive thoughts about your body, you are not alone. As a professional woman in her mid-30"s, and a mother of two, I understand the external pressures to look, to act, and to even feel a certain way. Oftentimes, in my opinion, the "best" or the "right" way to look, act, or feel is based on a completely arbitrary standard. When it comes to body image, girls/women are inundated from a young age with messages, images, and rules that tell us to lose weight (but not too much), be fit (but not too much), be curvy and voluptuous (but not too much and only in certain areas), etc In other words, we are taught that there is some ideal to be reached, and if you don"t achieve that ideal balance of.slender, but not skinny; fit but not masculine; curvy but not plump or fatthen you need to keep working at it. And keep working at it. And keep working at it. Andyou aren"t quite where you "need" to be, so keep working at it. And, then you realize years have flown by, and you"ve lost meaningful contact with friends or family, you"ve missed out on memories, and you"ve let life pass you by as you"ve wasted your time fixated on some perfect body that never is and was (or, for those who feel like they reached "it" through dieting, they live in constant fear of losing "it" if they ever stop the diet cycle). Ultimately, for what? Was it worth it? Did your obsessive quest make you happier, more fulfilled, and give your life purpose?
This is a relaxation exercise that I like to teach my highly anxious and sometimes just anxious clients in private practice. So we always start by teaching how to breathe deeply and ...Relax the Vagus Nerve and enjoy the Parasympathetic Nervous System
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