Often, if we’re feeling frustrated with our body — tired, unfit, sluggish, unhealthy — we are advised to make lifestyle changes. Change our diet, our exercise, our routine.
You’ll quickly find fabulous resources and coaches to help set goals in these areas, take new actions and work toward shifting the thing you’re frustrated with.
Turns out, focusing solely on the desired result of your goals, and taking actions accordingly (no matter how measurable, specific etc they are), while may seem logical, doesn’t usually work. Sorry to be the bearer of that bad news.
But don’t despair, there is one simple, life-changing practice you can easily start first. Once you’ve got this is bedded in, your ability to make lifestyle changes to impact your body will transform.
What I’m pointing to here, is noticing the things that are already working about your physical body and start from there.
And, listen in, this is the most important bit: Do it on a regular basis.
Noticing what already works, is a powerful practice because it creates a strong foundation of gratitude, delight, and appreciation for what you already have, rather than trying to build a future based on the unpleasant grounds of annoyance, frustration, and shame.
Remember, wherever you go in the future, there you are. If you make lifestyle changes to escape the terrible body you have, all bets need to be placed on making those changes. Once there, if the changes don’t stick, or feel hard to maintain, you’re on shaky ground.
Conversely, if you start from appreciation, self-respect, and gratitude, you’ll take them into the future with you. Whatever comes next is simply a bonus.
In other words, fill your boots with goal setting and lifestyle changes, but please, start with a robust body appreciation practice. The difference it makes, I promise, will astound.
While the start with appreciation rule works in every area of life (creating fiscal goals will go much better if you can appreciate the money you currently have) we’re here to talk specifically about body appreciation.
Here’s a quick exercise to start you off:
As you read this, put your hand on your chest and locate your heart. Notice it beating. Notice that it beats for you, and no one else. Think about how many times it’s pumped blood around your body in the last 24 hours. Notice that it’s literally helped keep you alive, your entire life. Without its constant work and service, to you, you wouldn’t be here. Go ahead and thank it for its contribution to your life. Appreciate it for all the work it’s done.
You can repeat this exercise for all parts of your body. There is no such thing as perfection in your body — you may have highly compromised bits and pieces, but there will still be something about those parts you can notice and thank.
The logical question now is, how can you incorporate body appreciation into your life?
- Grab yourself a gratitude journal and commit to a month of daily body appreciation. Write at the top of each page, each day, today my body… and then list what your body did for you that day. Keep it practical and real. For example, my body walked me to work. My body drove my car for me. My body ate my dinner for me. At the end of the page, write your thanks. Acknowledge all your body did, and offer appreciation. You’ll feel gratitude bubble up in you.
- Do a BodyBlossom Challenge, a daily guided body appreciation walk. When I began taking a daily mindfulness walk with the intention of noticing each part of my body and thanking it, I was so delighted with the results — calmer, easier with myself, more vital, more energy and able to deal with life coming at me in a whole new way — I dedicated my career to bringing body appreciation to others.
Whatever you choose to do, know this:
You, like everyone else on this gorgeous planet,
are worthy of living a healthy, happy, fulfilling life.
About Emma Wright
Emma Wright, founder of the BodyBlossom Challenge, is out to help you reclaim your body. She is a fierce and funny speaker, bestselling author, and curator of the BodyBlossom photo project; an art collaboration in support of body positivity.
More about Emma…