Body Image Booster: Practicing Mindfulness
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 your 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!
Mindfulness can be helpful in improving our body image. It can remind us to savor the here and now (and stop chasing thinness). To tune out the noise of women’s magazines and other unhelpful media — and tune into ourselves. To savor our food and tiny moments. To observe our bodies, thoughts and feelings without judgement. These are incredibly powerful things.
A few years ago, professor and author Michelle Lelwica, ThD, explained the benefits of mindfulness in an interview here on Weightless.
- It helps us develop an inner life by teaching us how to observe and be curious about what is happening with our thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations – without judgment; this inner life can become a new source of meaning that replaces the (superficial/destructive) sense of purpose that one gets from the pursuit of a “better” body.
- Mindfulness practice shifts our attention away from our external appearance to how our bodies feel from the inside. To be aware of the present moment you must be fully present in your body.
- Practicing mindfulness helps us recognize how we have been conditioned to think, feel, and act in response to various stimuli (i.e., media images, food environments, etc.), and this recognition opens the possibility for making more conscious choices with regards to our thoughts, feelings, and actions.
- Learning to slow down, observe, and/or sit with difficult thoughts and feelings—instead of being carried away by them (or running away from or clinging to them)—creates new habitsthat counteract the unhelpful escapist coping strategies that frequently surround disturbed body image.
- Mindfulness practice teaches us the value of having a spiritual practice—a method for transforming our pain and returning to a place of inner peace and reconnecting with our deepest values; this method is reliable and loving and can foster wisdom and strength for helping others.
- Mindfulness practice is just that—a practice. It is not about doing it “right” or striving for perfection. Like healing itself, it is a process of retraining ourselves and our energy to stay more focused on the present reality—on what is—rather than pour our energies into how we wish things would be.
Today, I wanted to share a few resources on mindfulness. For instance, I recently came across a great website called Mindful.org. (They also have a magazine.) Here are a few valuable posts from the site:
- 10-minute body scan, a powerful way to check in with your body and soothe yourself.
- reconsidering the radish, a beautiful, mindful look at food. This reminds me not only to savor and enjoy what I’m eating, but to marvel at a food’s history and respect its interesting roots.
- 5 mindfulness activities from meditation teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, including mindful breathing, body awareness and walking meditation.
- how to add meditation and awareness to your daily routine.
Has mindfulness helped you in appreciating and honoring your body? What are your favorite mindfulness resources?
Tartakovsky, M. (2014). Body Image Booster: Practicing Mindfulness. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 22, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless/2013/03/body-image-booster-practicing-mindfulness/