Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts the week on a positive note!
Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you!
I’ve already written about Susannah Conway‘s beautiful book, This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart. (See here for that post.) It’s a book about healing after tragedy and essentially finding your way back to yourself.
In it, Conway also features a variety of valuable activities readers can try to explore themselves and their worlds.
Today, I’d like to share one of my favorite exercises involving our bodies — and the sense of touch.
According to Conway, “We navigate the world through our senses. Sight, smell, hearing, and taste are received directly into our heads but touch is a full-on body experience, unequivocally letting us know we exist.”
She suggests that as we go about our days, we explore what it feels like to be in our skin.
I love this tip because many of us don’t just dislike our bodies; we ignore them. Or we forget how much fun and enjoyment we can have by paying close attention to our surroundings and how our bodies interact with our world.
And even more so, tuning into our senses is another way to take great care of ourselves, another way that we can soothe ourselves, another way to feel comfortable in our own skin, another clue into our needs.
How often do you take the time to really feel your way through activities, through your life?
For instance, try putting fresh sheets on your bed and enjoying the cotton against your bare skin, according to Conway.
Focus on your clothing — and what you’re wearing right now. Conway writes:
Is wool soft and cuddly or does it make your skin itch like mad? What are you wearing right now — can you feel it? Run your fingers across the fabric, search out the threads. Run your fingers down your arms…touch your left shoulder with your fingertips…touch your right knee.
She also suggests taking a walk, bringing your camera along, and capturing the different surfaces you see. Be sure to touch these surfaces, like you probably did as a child.
Bring your journal, if you like, and describe these surfaces. You can even make it a challenge by finding 10 or 20 different surfaces.
As Conway beautifully writes:
What does the outside of your house feel like? The bark of the tree across the street? When was the last time you touched the grass with your hands?
Let your hands be your eyes. Go barefoot outdoors and let your feet get muddy. Lie back on the grass (or the sand) and close your eyes, allowing the force of gravity to gently push you back against the earth.
Let your body become part of the landscape.
Once you pay closer attention to your body, maybe you realize that you don’t love wool clothes after all, or that you do love running barefoot in your backyard.
Maybe you find that clean cotton sheets are a great source of comfort for you. Or that you love taking walks with a camera in hand.
Maybe you find that you need a new chair because this one makes you feel uncomfortable and antsy. Or maybe you notice that the sand between your toes is especially soothing, so you decide to visit the beach once a week.
The possibilities are truly endless.
I absolutely love Conway’s book. There are many books that I read and enjoy. But then I inevitably come across some comment about the importance of losing weight or going on a diet or something similar. And I always feel so disappointed.
This book is different. Everything I’ve read is truly inspiring, and honest and thoughtful. It’s a book that helps you embrace exactly who you are, all of you.
Conway’s book is filled with so much wisdom. That’s why I want to share the love.
I’m going to buy one copy of This I Know and gift it to a lucky reader! All you have to do is comment below (one comment per reader please) and describe one way you’re going to explore being in your skin.
You have until 11 p.m. EST next Tuesday (6/19). I’ll announce the winner that Wednesday morning (picked randomly). Good luck!
Update: The winner is Misty. Congrats!
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Last reviewed: 20 Jun 2012