6 Tools for Developing Positive Body Image Over 40

by kellylavieri on September 16, 2015

positive body image img

I have yet to meet a teenage girl who didn’t, at some point, feel insecure about her body. Poor body image has become an epidemic among women in our country—and it’s no surprise when the millions of images of women in the media, magazines, and movies that we are bombarded with daily promote one general body type, ethnicity, hair color, eye color, breast size…the list goes on. But as women over 40 with a rational view of the world, we’ve chosen to let go of the media’s idea of the “perfect” woman—haven’t we? If you are one of the many woman over 40 with poor body image, these 6 tools for building positive body image will help give your mind a makeover.

1. Practice Mindfulness
Being mindful means practicing non-judgmental, present moment awareness. A common, simple mindfulness practice is to simply take three big breaths, focusing on the sensation of the breath entering and leaving your body. This simple, powerful practice offers us the chance to see and feel how miraculous our body is. Breathing is our body’s most mundane action, but without it we wouldn’t be here! Take a moment to appreciate this simple, life-sustaining act.

2. Take Inventory
What has your body been through? What has it survived, triumphed over, loved, witnessed? One person’s “flaws” are another’s cherished memories, or a trophy representing an obstacle overcome or right of passage.

3. Stop! And Change Directions
When you notice the critical voice in your head start to spout off a put-down or other toxic thought, mentally (or out loud, if you want!) say STOP! Cutting negative thoughts short in this way actually helps us rewire our brains to choose more positive thoughts—but only if we follow up our “Stop!” with a joyful, affirming message. For example, when you hear the mind making a rude comment about your hips, mentally say, “Stop! I am so appreciative of my powerful body and my beautiful female form.” Choose the thoughts about your body that bring you the most joy to replace the negative ones.

4. Dress for Success
…Body image success, that is! Shop in stores where you feel good (it’s sometimes best to avoid fluorescent lighting and poorly-hung mirrors—even people who normally feel great about themselves have been known to leave the Target dressing room in tears!). Choose clothing that flatters YOUR shape, and clothes that you feel good in. You should feel beautiful, strong, happy, and confident in every single article of clothing you own. If you don’t feel good in something, toss it!

5. See the Big Picture
If you tend to focus on a few “problem” areas when you look in the mirror, intentionally direct your gaze away from these areas and look at your entire body, pausing on the parts of yourself that you feel best about.

6. Dig Deeper
We’ve all heard—and all really know the truth—of the adage that beauty is not just skin deep. When you feel good about who you ARE, you’ll radiate that goodness and beauty. You look your best when you’re feeling your best.

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