A Beautiful Body is a Happy BodyJan 14, 2022
It’s summer again, which also means it’s that time of year where we compare our bodies and pick ourselves apart. We also get slammed with ads about how all bodies are beautiful and we have to embrace our differences. All of that is great and all bodies are beautiful and serve a function. And at this point, all bodies are superior for getting us through this tough year. But none of that truly changes our outlook on ourselves. Body image is so fluid, and it goes hand in hand with our lifestyle, our environments, and just overall health. This fluidity of how we perceive our bodies can be so exhausting and can dominate all of our conversations and thoughts.
I think pretty much everyone can relate to the quarantine weight changes, whether you gained or lost weight, we all look different. This year body image and the discussion of health became an even bigger topic than before. This could be for so many reasons, but as a mental health professional, I have chalked it up to everyone being bored and spending far too much time on social media looking at filtered images of ‘beautiful people’. It’s truly damaging. What was even more damaging this past year is that we couldn’t get away from it. I know for me I ate way more unhealthy, processed, fast food than ever before. I was feeding my feelings. I in turn gained some weight. I also wasn’t feeling like exercising very much because I was tired and felt no reason to. My body image at that point was terrible. My body had never looked the way it did, and it had never felt the way it did. I spent all winter in a slump over my body image.
We all have low points. Even those Instagram models have low points. Why do you think they use all those image-altering features and change the lighting and add filters? We have times we think we look amazing, and times we think we look awful. But all of it has nothing to actually do with what we actually see in the mirror. Body image is all psychological, and when our brains are happy, our body image perception is high. These past few months I really got to feel this theory personally. I had never had a poor overall body image until this past winter. I was eating bad, I wasn’t working out, I was stuck at home doing remote work, and I was miserable. What is interesting is now that the warmer weather is here, I work in person again, I am eating more fresh foods and am getting outside for exercise…I have a positive body image again. My weight has not changed, my clothes are still fitting the same way (tight), and my body does not look physically different. It’s my feeling of happiness that has changed. My endorphins are flowing again and nothing else matters. That’s what those ‘beautiful bodies’ ads need to showcase more of. Bodies that are happy are beautiful. We need to promote happiness, not just a physical body.
Next time you find yourself looking in a mirror and picking yourself apart and comparing yourself to some person on the internet, rate your mood. I always do what I call a thermometer check with my clients before every session. It helps me and them gauge where their level of happiness is. If your thermometer level is low, that’s what you need to focus on, not numbers on a scale, not what size pants you are wearing, and definitely not unattainable beauty standards. Beauty comes from the inside and radiates outside. I know it sounds so cliché, but it’s so true.
Happiness is beautiful period.
Here are some things you can do to boost your happiness thermometer:
Get outside and get moving
Listen to music and dance around
Add more fresh fruits to your diet and/or replace one processed food item with a fresh and natural one
Talk to friends and family more – facetime dates are my favourite!
Don’t compare your selfcare to others. Scroll TikTok and laugh out loud for an hour every night if it makes you feel better – this is truly what I do.
Allow yourself to have days that you just go with the flow
Article by: Drew Duffy
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