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6 Tips For Squashing Negative Self-Talk and Feeling More Confident in Your Own Skin
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Acknowledge Your Inner Judgment and Then Send It Away
It can be very hard to ignore negative thoughts you might have, so Leide Porcu, PhD, LP, suggests acknowledging those criticisms and then dismissing them. "You can talk back to your internal negative voice or negative self-image even if you do not know where it comes from originally," Dr. Porcu told POPSUGAR. "Say to those negative thoughts, 'Thank you, but I want to go in another direction now and try something new.'"
Recognizing those thoughts can help you move forward, as long as you don't dwell on them, Dr. Porcu explained. "Do not open that up and make a negative novel out if it. Let it pass by like a cloud in the sky."
Kevin Gilliland, PsyD, executive director of Innovation360, added that if you find yourself in a negative spiral, balance those critical thoughts with positive ones. "Make a deal with yourself: for every negative comment you make, there has to be a positive comment about something else you like about your body," Dr. Gilliland told POPSUGAR. "Do that for an hour and see if you start to hold both of those things better."
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Only Compare You to You
It can be so hard to do, but try not to compare yourselves to others. "Body image is often influenced by so many other things that have and never will have anything to do with us personally," Dr. Gilliland said. "Be fair. Compare you to you. Do you feel and act healthier today than you did a month ago? How about six months ago? Try to look and think broader about your body and be the best version of you possible. Be inspired by other people, but don't compare yourself to them."
Focus on positive self-talk when you look in the mirror each day. Think about your own trajectory and the things you and your body have accomplished, rather than worrying about what other people are doing.
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Acknowledge the Usefulness of Your Body
When you're feeling down about your body, remind yourself of all the good things it can do. This is a great opportunity to use meditation to center your mind. "Acknowledging the usefulness of our bodies can be a way to extend kindness to ourselves," Lisa S. Larsen, PsyD, told POPSUGAR. "Doing meditations that focus on body awareness without judgment can also be very helpful."
Dr. Larsen suggests focusing a breath on each part of your body while you name, acknowledge, and appreciate it. "Acknowledging and appreciating each body part can start to forge a friendlier, more neutral relationship with one's own body," she said.
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Act Like You're Talking to a Friend Instead
Chances are you wouldn't heap negativity on your closest friends and their bodies, right? So talk to yourself the way you'd talk to your best friend. "For some reason, we humans seem to save our worst words for ourselves, and that isn't going to help with this," Dr. Gilliland told POPSUGAR. So pretend the person in the mirror is someone you care deeply about, and show yourself the same kindness.
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This may sound simple, but if you're caught in a pattern of negativity, you can sometimes forget that you owe it to yourself to just be fair. Dr. Gilliland explained that you should ask yourself this question: "Given the current situation and the amount of daily stress and worry and the limitations on our daily life, are my expectations about my body fair?" After you've thought about it, then ask yourself this: "What is a more accurate thought about my body and my health given this chapter in life?"
Similarly, Dr. Larsen suggested asking yourself if your negative thoughts are your own or if they're criticisms you've heard from someone else. Trying to understand why you feel this way can be the first step toward changing unhealthy patterns.
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Write a Success Book
Similar to journaling, consider starting a success book, a private place to jot down positive thoughts that you can circle back to when you need them. This is also a great place to file away compliments from other people. "With time, you will be able to internalize the positive," Dr. Porcu told POPSUGAR. "After all, you cannot discard all the hard evidence forever."
Everyone struggles with body image at some point, but it's typically something you can work through with some help. If you're in the habit of tearing yourself down, you first need to acknowledge that it's a problem before you can begin reflecting more positively on the parts you're so quick to criticize. With time and practice, you might even learn to love and respect your body. If that seems like an impossible task, these therapist tips can help get you started. They're simple but effective in helping you reframe those negative thoughts and get to a healthier place. Keep reading to see them all.