Take a few seconds right now to name three things you’re grateful for.
Was one of them your body?
If yes, cool! If not, no worries – I think you’re in the majority.
It’s easy to forget our bodies allow us to do everything. Our brains allow us to think, legs to walk, mouths to speak. When I talk about being grateful for our bodies, I mean all parts, inside and out.
Talk about something to show gratitude towards.
Unfortunately, body-shaming is pretty typical in our society, so for most of us, we have to make a conscious effort to actually like and appreciate our bodies. Crazy, I know. But the good news is that we also have the power to start shifting our mindset toward gratitude and celebration.Unfortunately, body-shaming is pretty typical in our society, so for most of us, we have to make a conscious effort to actually like and appreciate our bodies. - @CameronSimcik Click To Tweet
Don’t know where to start? Here are 5 ways you can start showing gratitude for your body, starting today:
Move to feel great
Our bodies are meant to move and stretch and play, and giving ourselves the opportunity to do these things is an awesome act of gratitude.
I’m a big proponent of moving our bodies to feel great, instead of focusing on losing weight or burning calories, because, from this place, exercising isn’t a punishment; it’s something that can be really fun and enjoyable!
There are a lot of “shoulds” around exercising, too. For example, I used to run 7 or 8 miles at a time, because I thought I “should be” pushing my body way past its limits to stay in shape. I really don’t like running, so every time I’d go for a run, I’d be miserable. Not such a good way to honor my body, huh?
Every single body is different. Not everyone is meant to crush a cycling class or run a half marathon. Honoring your limits and potential is a great way to practice body gratitude.
I challenge you to start moving your body in ways that feel good to you. Maybe a HIIT workout feels great to you today or perhaps dancing around your room sounds better. Whatever feels good in your body, do that.
Rest when you need it
Just like our bodies are meant to move, they’re also meant to rest. In our do more, be more-obsessed culture, taking time to slow down can actually be pretty challenging! But – and this is a big but – it’s critical.
From a physical standpoint, resting allows our bodies to do their thing; to keep our stress levels in check, maintain our immune systems, allow our adrenals to function properly, and so much more.
If you’re someone who finds it challenging to take a chill pill, your “rest” might look like going for a walk or taking a gentle yoga class. It doesn’t have to be vegging on the couch, though that’s great, too.
Get physical with yourself
How often do you give your body some TLC? I mean physical acts of self-care that help you feel refreshed, reenergized and more grounded.
Physical self-care tends to have this stigma of being selfish or indulgent. I used to think that too until I realized how it helped me connect with my body on a much deeper level.
So many of us feel disconnected from our physical bodies, but taking time to literally show our bodies gratitude and care can help strengthen this connection.
Don’t know where to start? Here are some suggestions:
- Take a bath with essential oils (lavender is one of my favorites)
- Get a massage
- Apply lotion to your whole body, slowly and intentionally
- Take 20 minutes to stretch
Remember: Choose something that helps you feel refreshed, reenergized and more grounded.
Literally thank your body
This might feel unnatural, but I encourage you to give it a shot. There’s a lot of power in verbalizing gratitude. It instantly raises your energy, which is critical if you want to befriend your body!
Your body is your friend, but it can be easy to forget that when body judgment and criticism is a societal “norm.”
Here’s one of my favorite exercises I share with clients:
Before heading to bed, reflect on everything you’ve done that day. What body parts allowed you to accomplish those things?
Maybe you walked to your favorite coffee shop, in which case you could thank your legs for taking you there. Or maybe you hugged someone you love, so you could thank your arms for allowing you to embrace that person.
Again, this might feel silly or strange, but the purpose is to bring more awareness to all the amazing things your body does for you, big or small!
Nix the comparison
The world can be a really noisy place. If you’re plugged into the media (social, news, TV shows, magazines), messages like you’re not skinny enough or wearing this makeup will make you beautiful are being hurled at us all the time, and we probably don’t even realize it!
This is where comparison gremlins can creep in, like those I’m not pretty/beautiful/skinny/fit enough thoughts most of us have had at some point.
Getting out of the comparison trap probably won’t happen overnight, but a great first step is to decrease the noise in your life. Start unfollowing/unfriending any social media accounts that bring up negative feelings. While you’re at it, limit the amount of time you spend looking at social media, watching TV and reading magazines. Instead, use that time and energy to do something that helps you get more in tune with yourself (like moving, resting, taking a bath or thanking your body!).
As you’re reflecting on everything you’re grateful for this holiday season, don’t forget to keep your bod top of mind, and head over to my Facebook community, Body Love Club, for extra support, inspiration, and encouragement.