Empower Your Mindset: 5 Steps to Shift Away from Negative Thoughts about Your BodyApr 28, 2023
So many women are plagued by an incessant, internal fixation on their weight, food consumption, and physical appearance.
This type of thinking is often so ingrained and habitual that many women may not even be aware of it. Their preoccupation with weight and food is often a subconscious, patterned way of life that persists over the long term
The purpose of this blog is to bring awareness to any internal unhealthy dialogue surrounding weight and food that might be present within you. Through this awareness, you can begin to move beyond these patterns and towards more loving, empowered thoughts that promote a healthy and positive relationship with your body.
This week, I encourage you to observe if you find yourself constantly preoccupied with thoughts such as, "If only I could lose 15 or 20 pounds," or "I need to cut out sugar this week," or "If only my butt or stomach looked a certain way in these clothes." Simply noticing these thoughts is the first step towards bringing awareness to this pattern of thinking.
Step two is to take a breath. I recommend taking a deep, full diaphragmatic breath, meaning that as you inhale, allow your belly and rib cage to expand in all directions. Then, as you exhale, let go of anything that is not serving you. Use your exhale to soften and surrender into the present moment.
Step three is to focus on feeling your feet on the earth beneath you. Imagine that you can ground and root yourself from your feet. Bring your attention to the physical sensation of your feet making contact with the ground. This can help you feel more grounded and present in the moment.
Step four is to go back to your thoughts and ask yourself, "Is that true?" and "Is that kind or loving?". This step involves examining the thoughts that were preoccupying your mind and questioning their validity and their intention. This can help you gain perspective and distance from the thoughts and ultimately replace them with more positive and supportive ones.
Step five is to ask yourself, "What thought would feel just a little bit better?" After examining the validity and intention of the preoccupying thoughts and questioning if they are kind or loving, this step encourages you to shift your focus to finding a thought that feels more positive and uplifting. The idea is to find a thought that creates a small shift in your mindset towards a more positive and empowering perspective.
Here are the five steps that can be taken to move beyond these patterns and towards more loving, empowered thoughts that promote a healthy and positive relationship with one's body:
- Notice the preoccupying thoughts.
- Take a deep, full diaphragmatic breath.
- Focus on feeling the feet on the earth beneath you.
- Ask yourself, "Is that true?" and "Is that kind or loving?"
- Ask yourself, "What thought would feel just a little bit better?"
It's important to note that in this process, you're not bypassing anything, nor are you judging yourself or making yourself wrong for having these thoughts or feelings about yourself or your body that may not be the kindest. You're not making it mean anything about your personal growth or progress. Instead, you're simply noticing and pausing to become more aware of your internal dialogue and thought patterns. This self-reflection and self-awareness can be a powerful tool for personal growth and positive change.
The reason for the full diaphragmatic breath is to help stimulate the vagus nerve, which can help activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This state allows for rest, healing, and digestion, and by supporting the body in finding this state, we can become more embodied and present in the moment. By taking a few deep breaths, we can help calm our nervous system and shift our focus away from negative thoughts, which can have a positive impact on our overall well-being.
By becoming more aware of our internal dialogue and taking steps to shift our mindset towards more positive and uplifting thoughts, we can gain a sense of conscious empowered choice over our thoughts and behaviors. This can lead to more intentional actions and habits that align with our goals and values, ultimately supporting our overall well-being and sense of self-worth.
Grounding into your feet and the Earth can be beneficial because our feet, especially for those who are able-bodied, are how we navigate through this world in this life. By allowing your body to feel the support it can receive from the feet below and the Earth beneath them, you can create a sense of stability and support within your body. This can help you feel more grounded and present in the moment, making it easier to focus on positive thoughts and make intentional choices that align with your values and goals.
Grounding into your body and feeling supported can enable you to make more empowered choices and shift your thinking from a grounded, centered place. By being present in your body and feeling rooted and grounded, you can access a sense of calm and ease that can help you make choices from a place of clarity and confidence. This is in contrast to making choices from a place of anxiety or nervousness, which can often lead to decisions that do not align with your values or goals. By cultivating a grounded and centered state, you can approach your thoughts and behaviors with more intention and purpose.
Asking yourself if a thought is true, kind, or loving can help take some of the emotional charge out of it and allow you to approach it more objectively. This can help you determine whether the thought is serving you or not and whether it aligns with your values and goals. By becoming more aware of your thoughts and taking a more neutral perspective, you can begin to shift your mindset towards more positive and empowering thoughts that support your well-being and self-worth.
The goal is not to go from feeling bad about your body to suddenly loving it unconditionally. That can be a difficult and unrealistic expectation to place on yourself. Instead, the goal is to find a thought or perspective that feels just a little bit better, that feels more aligned with your values and supports your well-being. By focusing on incremental improvements and small shifts in your mindset, you can gradually build a more positive and empowered relationship with your body and self-image.
The answer to what would help you feel a little bit better is going to be different for everyone. To provide some concrete examples, it could be something like "I can choose to be happy now" or "My happiness doesn't depend on my weight". It's all about finding a thought or belief that feels a little more positive, believable, and empowering than the negative one you started with.
In the Radical Embodiment episode, Body Image & Self Love, I interview my dear friend & Rolfer Alex Ferm. Our discussion aligns perfectly with this week's Embodied Musings episode, as Alex shares their thoughts about her personal journey with body image, discussing how she has dealt with her preoccupation with weight and shares practical tips that have helped her overcome negative self-talk. Listen to the episode here.
Enjoy your experience with these 5 steps of noticing your thoughts, slowing down to breath & ground, & getting to choose a more empowered, embodied thought.
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