To conclude this series, I want to talk about a powerful tool for more deeply understanding some of our difficulties with our body image.
5. Check in with your emotions.
It’s incredible what I learn about myself when I check in with my emotional body instead of my physical body. Have you ever felt so angry that your hands shook, so happy that you had butterflies, or so sad that it seemed a weight was bearing down on your shoulders?
Emotions are powerful influencers of our physical experiences. There have been many times when I felt “fat” or “ugly”, but when I shifted my focus from my body to my emotions, I found out the source of those physical feelings was an emotional one.
This fascinating article says this isn’t just an imagined phenomenon, but a scientific one. This article is about physical pain related to stress, yet I’ve also found that these sensations of “fat” and “ugly” are deeply interconnected with my emotional context.
Once I started checking in with the emotional context of my physical sensations, I could address the root of the issue (emotional), rather than the symptom (body negativity). Amazingly, when I addressed the emotional component, the physical component would resolve itself, or at least significantly lessen.
When I’m having an especially intense “fat attack”-a term I use to describe the sudden intense sensation of “fatness” which is an emotionally motivated feeling, unrelated to my physical body-I assess what else is going on inside me. Sometimes, I’ll feel I’ve gained 10 pounds within a matter of minutes, because I just got in an argument with someone and I’m feeling upset.
Other times, when I am stressed about a deadline, I’ll start to nit-pick my features, because I’m distracting myself from the anxiety, or when I’m nervous in a big social group, I’ll suddenly feel “big”, seemingly out of nowhere.
In this sense, our bodies are extremely sensitive to our emotions. Focusing on my body’s physical shortcomings, then, is also a distraction from difficult emotions I am experiencing. Just as with any distraction, figuring out the underlying problem leads me to an actionable solution to the real issue, instead of the surface-level of what I need to “fix” about myself.
For more fantastic body positivity quotes, click here.
I hope you’ve found this series helpful in your body positivity journey. Please comment below on what you think, and what other practices you use to create self-compassion for your beautiful self.
And, be sure to check back in next Wednesday for more wellness tips and thoughts you won’t want to miss.
Have a wonderful day full of kindness and joy. You deserve it.
Header image Credit: happify.com