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Before and After Pictures: A Portrait of Your Mind


A few weeks ago, I published a post on my thoughts about before-and-after pictures of our bodies.

Since then, I’ve been thinking about how that idea relates – perhaps more positively – to before-and-after pictures of our minds.

I’ve always dabbled in exercise and healthy eating, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I got serious about it; not just for my body, but also for my mind. My “before picture” was horrendous, to say the least. I was extremely out of shape, both physically and mentally. I couldn’t stand to look at it, much less let others see it.

Now that I’m more serious about how I treat my body, I have a healthier, more glowing “after picture.” I feel a sense of pride when I step back and look at all the positive changes I’ve made in my life (again, both physically and mentally), and I don’t mind showing others and helping them work toward beautiful after pictures, too (hence, the birth of “Your Body, Your Mind”!).

So, if you could take before-and-after pictures of your mind, how would they look?

I’ll go first!

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Before I began working out and eating healthier foods, I:

  • Felt unexplainably sad. I couldn’t pinpoint why I was sad. I just was. Such unexplainable sadness frustrated not only me, but also my family and friends.
  • Avoided nearly every activity at all costs. Sometimes I couldn’t even come up with an excuse for not doing something, which caused even more distance between the people in my life and myself.
  • Was unhappy with my mental and physical image. You could say I was both physically and mentally overweight. I was carrying too much mental baggage and was bordering on carrying too much body mass.
  • Suffered from a severe lack of confidence. I just knew I was always doing, saying – even thinking – the wrong things. I worried more about what others thought of me (or would think of me, if I actually left my apartment) than what I thought of myself.
  • Felt like no one listened to me, or better yet, that I had nothing to say or contribute. What did I have to share? Stories about work and sleep and Netflix marathons?

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Since I began working out and paying closer attention to how I nourished my body:

  • My mood has been more balanced. Sure, I still get sad (doesn’t everybody?), but now when I’m sad, I know why, and I can communicate it to anyone I choose.
  • I no longer avoid activities, unless I genuinely just don’t want to partake. Now, I actually initiate things to do!
  • I feel more satisfied about myself, both physically and mentally. Any frustration or confusion or anger I feel, I work out at the gym or at the track or on a yoga mat, which has, to my delight, helped me lose weight and tone up, as well as help me feel physically better (it’s nice not to experience mysterious aches and pains!) and more comfortable in my own body.
  • I have more confidence, which has led to my stopping worrying about what everyone thinks of me and spending more time focusing on how I feel about me.
  • I’m more willing to start conversations and engage and share my experiences with others.

Now it’s YOUR turn, sweet readers! If YOU could take a selfie of YOUR MIND’S before-and-after pictures, how would they look? Share with us in the comments below, and you might just inspire others to strive for healthier after pictures!

Before and After Pictures: A Portrait of Your Mind

Alicia Sparks

Alicia Sparks is a freelance writer and editor and the creator of, where she blogs to help new freelance writers get their quills in the pot, so to speak. Among animal rights, music, and physical wellness, her passions include mental health and advocacy. Here at Psych Central she works as Syndication Editor as well as authors Your Body, Your Mind, Unleash Your Creativity, and World of Psychology's weekly "Psychology Around the Net."

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APA Reference
Sparks, A. (2015). Before and After Pictures: A Portrait of Your Mind. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 8, 2020, from


Last updated: 23 Apr 2015
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