Tough Stuff

How to cope with bad body image days

We've all had those moments standing in front of a mirror or scrolling through social media when body insecurity creeps in. Tbh, body image can change the whole vibe of your day.

The way you view your body can change from day to day or even from moment to moment. Physical changes due to puberty, acne flare-ups or even just going to a pool party can bring those feelings to the surface.

The next time you're feeling insecure about your bod, try these tips to banish bad thoughts.

1. Shift your focus to how your body feels

When your mind is stuck on the way your body looks, it can help to shift the way you're thinking about it. "Get out of your head. Connect to your body in a different way," explains body image therapist Angela Florio. "Try something like dance or gentle yoga. This can help you to shift your focus away from how your body looks to how your body feels." 

2. Practice self-soothing using your five senses


Feeling bad about your body can lead to some serious anxiety or other hard feelings like insecurity or sadness. That's where self-soothing comes in: It's a coping skill that basically involves finding small ways to comfort yourself. "You can use your five senses to feel better in these moments," Florio suggests.

Sight: Find pretty photos of things you like to look at. For example, if you're a beach girlie, find pictures of your fave sunset or a tropical place you'd love to visit next summer. Search on Pinterest, Insta or go old-school by flipping through some travel magazines. You can also find something IRL (like your favorite park or flowers) and simply soak up the environment until your feelings start to settle. 

Sound: Listen to some of your fave music!

Smell: Do you have a candle, essential oil or perfume that you love? Take some deep breaths with your chosen scent and notice how your mood shifts. 

Taste: Is there a food that you really like that feels comforting? This is a good time to distract yourself with something that feels good—and a fun snack might just be the thing.

Touch: Petting your best furry friend or wearing a fabric that feels cozy can be unexpectedly relaxing. 

3. Practice body gratitude

In her TedTalk, "Ending the pursuit of perfection", model Iskra Lawrence shares her mirror challenge. The mirror challenge is where you name five things that your body does for you that you appreciate. For example, maybe you love how your hands let you paint or that your ears allow you to soak up every single beat of a Taylor Swift album. 

This practice not only helps you feel better in the moment by thinking about something more positive, but it also helps you to value your body for more than what it looks like. This mindset can be difficult to channel when there's so much focus on appearances—but that doesn't mean it's impossible. 

While everyone struggles with body image occasionally, if you're noticing that your body image impacts your relationship to food or exercise or causes you significant emotional pain, you can use this tool to find a qualified mental health professional who can help.

Tag us on Insta @girlslifemag to share about how you're showing yourself some love!

Check out these posts for more ways to practice self-love:
🧚🏻‍♀️ How to create a more accepting body image for summer
🧚🏻‍♀️ Here are 5 self-help books that are *actually* worth the read
🧚🏻‍♀️ May we present the ultimate summer self-care bucket list 

All GIFs via GIPHY


by Samantha Bothwell | 6/28/2023