October 29, 2017

Positive body image is attainable, but takes work and vigilance. About 95% of all women and 45% of all men have negative thoughts about their body at some point in time. Media, with its idealized vision of men and women, has distorted our collective viewpoint and has many of us striving for an ideal that is only attainable by 5% of the population.  No matter what we eat, or how much we exercise, the size 0 eludes most women. 

Compounding this is the judgment, internally and externally imposed, meted out for our "imperfect" sizes. Not being thin enough can easily translate into not feeling good enough. The negative self-messaging is destructive and self-reinforcing; the more we experience something, the more deeply embedded the neural pathways become. Neural pathways are like superhighways of nerve cells that transmit messages. The more a particular neural pathway is used, the more dominant it becomes. After years of negative messaging, it takes hard work to change. 
Positivity- You Can Change Your Brain!
We do not have to fall victim to these internalized negative voices. Rewiring our neural pathways to create positive tracks takes diligence and vigilance, but can be done. First listen for your negative automatic thoughts and then challenge them. 

The following tips may help you turn it around. Let me know your success with them!
  1. After a negative body image thought, think of five positive body  thoughts; five positives will counteract one negative.
  2. Make a list of the positive attributes of your body and the positive things your body can do.
  3. Keep a top ten list of the things you like about yourself, having nothing to do with weight, body, or appearance. Read it daily, adding to it as you can.
  4. Wear clothes that are comfortable and look good on you, working with your body rather than against it.
  5. Keep perspective: weight and body size are only a small part of who you are. Look at the other parts of your self and your interactions with those around you.
  6. Look in the mirror daily and say "I am beautiful." Saying the words will imprint them in your psyche, even if you do not initially believe them.
  7. Self-care on a regular basis: whether it is a bath, meditation, a walk, or a drink with a friend, find an outlet that works for you. Indulge.
  8. Surround yourself with people who share and support your positivity. Gently call out those who try to sabotage you or feed into your negative voice.
  9. Keep a gratitude list. Read it regularly and add to it.  
  10. Remember, beauty is a state of mind, not a state of body.
Staying Healthy 

Negative body image can evolve into body dysmorphia and/or eating disorders, both of which are serious mental health issues. Body dysmorphia occurs in approximately 2% of the population; approximately 80% of those with this illness have had suicidal ideation and about 24% of people struggling with it have attempted suicide. Eating disorders are an even more serious public health issue, with more than 20 million women and 10 million men having struggled with it at some point in their lives; without treatment, up to 20% of people with a serious eating disorder die. 
Pay attention to yourself and your loved ones. If you become concerned about someone's physical or mental health, connect with a professional.

Think Positively and Take Actions to Achieve Your Goals
At Core Counseling, you can pursue Mind-Body Wellness through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, and other therapeutic techniques. To find out more or to schedule an appointment, call me at Core Counseling, LLC: 201.875.5699. Experience a comfortable, private and confidential environment with an atmosphere of encouragement, optimism, and compassion.
Together we can find solutions to your core issues. "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." Maya Angelou  

In Health and Wellness,

Lisa Fedder, MSW, LCSW, LCADC
560 Sylvan Avenue                     108 Baker Street
Englewood Cliffs, NJ  07632       Maplewood, NJ  07040
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