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Body Image Booster: Distract Yourself From Disparaging Thoughts

{by Julia from Feed Me Daily}

 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!

Sometimes, when you’re knee-deep in negative thoughts about your body, trying to change those thoughts can seem impossible. This can be especially true for individuals with eating disorders. Fleeting thoughts can etch into your mind, becoming more permanent fixtures.

“They become obsessions and it can often feel as though they are out of our control,” according to Julia, who struggled with an eating disorder and writes the blog Feed Me Daily.

Julia emailed me and generously shared a valuable activity for dealing with deeply imbedded negative thoughts (whether it’s the result of a battered body image or an eating disorder).

When she’s obsessing about her body, Julia consciously chooses to obsess about something else, even if it’s for a few minutes.

“I look at a flower, see the variations in the color and shape of the petal, notice the knots in the stem, sometimes even the smell. I try to stay present with the subject a little bit longer every time, stretching the moment like a yoga pose, a little bit resistant, a little bit relieved.”

Maybe this activity will help you, too. Of course, it’s important to work to chip away at negative, obsessive thoughts.

(If you have an eating disorder or deeply entrenched body image issues, I highly, highly recommend seeing a therapist.)

But focusing on another object can be a helpful, quick way to break the chain in a potentially damaging cycle.

Be sure to use a positive or neutral object. Anything in nature is perfect. Nature is soothing, and you can focus on so many amazing things: the lines of a leaf; the immense, full sky; a quiet river; blue birds chirping; even a blade of grass. Then you can focus on the many amazing details of each one.

You can also focus on objects in your home, school or office. Focus on the details of a computer, a book on your nightstand or a plate full of fruit. Focus on the curves and colors of your furniture, artwork or even appliances.

If it helps, you can create a list of objects you’ll focus on when negative thoughts arise. And keep it handy, whether it’s in your wallet, a journal you always carry or your purse. This way you’re already prepared. You can take out your piece of paper, and have an array of options to instantly help.

Or simply focus on your surroundings, and use your five senses, asking yourself what you see, smell, hear, touch and taste. 

What helps you overcome deeply negative thoughts? 

Body Image Booster: Distract Yourself From Disparaging Thoughts

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2012). Body Image Booster: Distract Yourself From Disparaging Thoughts. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 16, 2018, from


Last updated: 17 Sep 2012
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 Sep 2012
Published on All rights reserved.