With summer upon us, and the beach beckoning, this can be a challenging time for those of us susceptible to negative body image.
It's easy to get swept up in the things that bring us down and that is when self doubt can creep in. Sometimes we need to allow ourselves to let go and make way for our inner child to emerge by being playful, having fun and engaging in the moment.
Being outdoors and getting active can boost our confidence, and therefore our self esteem. And nothing beats living with joy and laughter and sharing these moments with the people you love.
In my book Why Can't I Look the Way I Want, there is a section titled 'How Do I Stay Positive?' It talks about inner wisdom; the voice that speaks from your heart. This voice represents your untapped potential to trust in your own uniqueness, your ability to strive for and realise your dreams. Only you have the power to change your life; catch negative thoughts as and when they occur and turn your thinking around, transforming your thoughts into strong, positive ideals.
Here are some tips if you start experiencing negative thoughts:
1. Ask yourself ‘where is this coming from’? Can you back track your thoughts until you find what triggered the initial negative thought? Ask yourself why this thought upset you and decide what action you can take to resolve it.
2. Acknowledge that it’s okay to feel down sometimes. Everyone has bad days. Then do something to lift your mood. Read your favourite passage from a book, go for a walk in the sunshine or dance to an awesome song.
3. Create a collection of affirmations that inspire you and say them to yourself often, including when you’re in a great mood. My favourite is: “I am honest, caring and a true reflection of happiness. I am creating a wonderful life”.
4. A fun thing to do is create Affirmation Cards. Get your friends together with some index cards. On the top of each card write a person's name. Pass these around, have everyone write down one thing they love about each person and then take turns reading them aloud. Keep your affirmation card with you and look at it often.
5. Record your thoughts and feelings in a journal. How do you feel today? Why do you think you feel that way? Then choose the best moment of the day and write that down. Why was it so great? Think of ways you can create more of these moments in each day.
6. Practice gratitude. What are some of the amazing things in your life that make you smile? Great friends, sunshine, summer parties, walks on the beach … focus on these instead of thinking about what might be missing in your life.
7. If you can’t seem to escape the negative thoughts, talk, talk, talk to your trusted friends. Talk it all out. Vent until you feel better. Offloading will help you to let it go.
Remember that positive body image stems from self-love; how you feel about yourself on the inside. Keep your life focused on believing in yourself and all that you are capable of. As Tyra Banks famously said "Never dull your shine for somebody else". Words to live by.