It’s 7am. You sit blurry eyed on the edge of the bed clicking off your fog horn phone alarm. You stumble to the bathroom and flip the switch. Bam…there you are. Your reflection in the mirror. It begins…”wow look at those bags..my hair is horrendous…must stop using pore clogging moisturizer, look at this zit!…” Undressing to climb in the shower brings another slew of endless thoughts, “damn I need to hit the gym look at this cellulite…my butt is way too flat…” After a quick shower and more ruminating over what to wear…”cant wear those jeans because they make me look fat”…you flip on MTV while munching on an apple because you want to wear those jeans you just refused to put on. Flashes of ads for “The Hills” come on plummeting your self esteem a few notches…”if only I could be skinny and rich like them..”
Damn! You are running late to catch the train to work. You get to the station with just enough time to grab the latest celebrity rag mag before the whistle blows. After spending a half hour reading through articles covering everything from Lindsay Lohan’s drastic weight drop, to Oprah’s endless battle with carbs, to detailed outlines of celebs strict diets and bicep curl routines, you step into the office and are faced with… a mirror in the entry way. Depressed yet?
No wonder 8 million Americans suffer from eating disorders. 7 million women and 1 million men (the number of men is rising).
As a young woman living and working in the dance/pilates industry I have seen my fair share of eating disorders, ridiculously low self esteem, and horrible body image. Obviously there is a huge problem with how women and men view their bodies in general. Developing the mind/body connection is the secret to positive change. Here are my tried and true methods for cultivating stellar body image and boosting self esteem through awareness.
Cut Negative Self Talk: This means you must become aware of your thoughts. All you really have to do is listen. When you look in the mirror become an observer of your rambling mind. What is it saying? Is it negative/positive? The moment you become aware is the minute you can change the course of the slippery slope into low self esteem. Whenever a negative thought floats through the mind, stop it in it’s tracks and repeat a positive mantra. Try “I am beautiful, peaceful and I am enough.” Repeat this mantra over and over. Throughout the day watch the mind and see what you hear. The amount of self abuse you inflict on yourself daily will surprise you. We could all learn from Anna’s example.
Take Care Of The Body: Treat your body like the temple that it is. When you take a shower scrub with care. Smooth on lotion after and slip on some comfortable clothes. How you act towards the body directly reflects how you think about the body. Touch your body like you would touch a babies or someone you really care about. Again become aware of how you thrash your body around. Do you rush and scrub through the pleasure of a shower, only to pull on some ridiculously tight skinny jeans, push up bra, tight tank top and back breaking stilettos? All that tension and roughness transfers into the body as muscular tension and stress.
Feel The Body: The next time you hit the gym or step into yoga class learn to drop your thoughts at the door. Focus on the task at hand only. Exercise. Before you begin any workout stand still, take a few breaths, and draw your attention to how the body feels from the inside out. What muscles are tight or in pain? It will be different everyday! If thoughts come to mind gently let them float away as you draw your attention back to the body. Practice maintaining and cultivating this focus throughout your regular workout. You’ll find it increases the depth of the work helping you get more out of every move. Basically you are building the bridge between mind and body. When you actually start to feel and be aware of the body from the inside out you develop respect for it’s beauty!
Meditation: There is no better way to build the mind, body, spirit connection. Awareness of the body fused with meditation is a portal into present mindful living. Learn more about mindfulness and simple meditations here.
Strip Your Life Of Toxic Media: Toss out the celeb mags, InStyle, Cosmo and other garbage that makes money off your poor self image. Join me in turning off the tube for good!
Quit Using The Body As A Dumping Ground: The body is your physical manifestation. Don’t trash it! Dumping toxins like alcohol, cigarettes, pesticides, hormones, and chemicals into the cells of the body is showing complete disrespect. You are basically telling your body through your actions that you don’t care about it. You’d rather get high for a quick night of fun, then take care of the only thing you have. The body is all you have! It will only rebound so many times.
Learn As Much As You Can: Read, read, read, practice, and feel. The more one learns about the anatomy and make up of the body the more awe inspiring it becomes. Feeling and practicing awareness of the body in all daily activities breeds respect. When you are in awe of your human form you are less likely to trash it with toxins, and abuse it mentally.
As someone who has spent my life learning and developing a connection with my mind, body and spirit, I can tell you it will transform the way you see yourself and others. Good luck on your journey! Start right now.
This post was brought to you by Only In A Woman’s World.