How To Be More Grateful For Your Body

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This past year has really tested me when it comes to my body image. After having gone through a fair amount of anxiety I turned to my trusted coping mechanism—food. Feeling the need to indulge in food as a way to feel better not only made me feel physically ill, but also changed the way I viewed my self-control, especially when I noticed my body begin to change in tandem. After having discussed these feelings with my therapist, I realized that my insecurities didn’t lie in the way I looked, but rather how I thought I would be perceived by others. Instead of recognizing how supportive my body was trying to be for me during times of high anxiety and, in a sense, putting on armour by gaining a bit of weight, I was berating myself.

So, for today’s post, I thought it would be a useful exercise for me and anyone who might also be struggling with body image to go through a few ways of feeling more grateful for the bodies we are in. These are techniques that my therapist has suggested I use as a way to bring myself back to reality and also a few that I’ve noticed work for me. It can be easy to lose touch with ourselves when we focus too much on what others think, especially about certain aspects of ourselves that we can’t always control.

A few things I’ve been doing lately to gain some perspective and appreciation for my body are:

  • Recognizing how amazing it is to do whatever I can do with my body, whether limited or not. When I’m lost in the haze of comparison or self-hatred I try to step back and look at how my fingers bend or how I can pick things up at will. These overlooked capabilities should be appreciated more often.

  • Allowing myself to accept the state that my body is in at the moment. I don’t know if I necessarily subscribe to the idea of body knowledge, but I do think that certain reactions are in response to something that you might not be paying attention to. Rather than fighting this reaction, I try to understand why my body might be acting like this and show myself some compassion while I go through the process of healing or change.

  • Trying forget about what others might think and focus on whether I like what I think about myself. Do I feel fulfilled, happy, engaged with my lifestyle, proud of the moves I’m making to achieve what I want? If yes, then everything else should come second, including how others might view my body in a time of physical change.

I know, it’s not easy to ignore the perception of others or change the way you view yourself. It takes a lot of time and effort to allow yourself even the smallest bit of compassion when you might feel out of control. Acceptance isn’t something you are born with, but rather something you learn by going through moments of struggle and moments of success. Things won’t always work out the way you want them to, but that doesn’t mean you are any less valid because of it.