riding bikes w brian, instagram

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!

I’ve written in the past about the importance of taking action before you think your body deserves it, before you feel comfortable in your own skin.

That’s because activities such as moving your body, getting enough sleep, meditating, journaling and relaxing help you feel better.

They help to shake the negative thoughts. They help to boost your mood and ease your pain.

In other words, positive action becomes a catalyst for a better body image and a better life. You develop nourishing habits right away, rather than waiting for your thoughts to come around (and being miserable in the meantime).

For instance, when someone is depressed, the best thing they can do is to keep up a healthy routine, to continue exercising, being with loved ones, eating nutrient-rich foods, sleeping well and doing any other activities that used to bring them fulfillment, joy and meaning.

When you’re depressed, though, you don’t want to do any of these things. In fact, you typically don’t want to do anything at all.

But you need to. You need to do the opposite of what you think and what you feel, because the depression distorts and clouds your thinking and emotions.

So you take small steps, despite the protests from your brain. And you enlist loved ones and professionals to help you.

Because healing comes from healthy habits, from participating in those activities that used to bring you fulfillment, joy and meaning.

The same is true for a negative body image.

The last thing you want to do is good things for yourself. And, in turn, you end up feeling crummy, which only perpetuates your negative body image, which only perpetuates your negative thoughts.

So let positive actions guide you.

Today, do one thing that makes you feel great. You don’t need to think you deserve it. You don’t need to think your body is beautiful. You don’t need to feel fantastic in your own skin.

Just do one thing that’s fun, joyful, relaxing or meaningful.

Then keep doing it. Or pick another activity to try. Surround yourself with activities that support your well-being. Enlist loved ones or professionals to help you take the next step.