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How to Keep a Positive Body Image this Summer

#1: Stop comparing.

Beautiful people are everywhere–that’s just a fact. Another fact, however, that we don’t analyze very often, is that you’re that beautiful person to somebody else. As human beings we are always striving for perfection; comparing ourselves to the next most attractive person, but this attitude of improving your beauty is broken (improving fitness is a whole other ball game, see #2). Comparing yourself to someone else would be beneficial if we could change our bodies like clothing, but we can’t. We must love our bodies because they’re the ones we get for this lifetime. Comparing your body to the model on an Instagram ad is both unfair (photoshop, facetune etc) and an incorrect way to get the body you want/begin to enjoy the body you have.

#2: Find an exercise routine that works for you.

Exercise releases dopamine into the body, no matter how long or strenuous your routine is. Personally, I love yoga and try to do a session every night before bed (key word: try). Yoga, however, is not everybody’s cup of tea, and that’s okay! If you like running, try a half mile after school or work. If you like biking, try riding your bike to the nearest yummy coffee shop and treat yourself. Exercise only has benefits, and your body will be filled with so many happy chemicals that body image won’t even be a thought. The same way one exercises their brain with reading or mathematics, our bodies need the same interaction to connect happily with our minds.

#3: Put your bad thoughts under a microscope.

Analyze the critical thoughts that spin on loop in your brain. A popular one in my head is that,”I’m too fat to wear a bikini.” This thought is followed by body checks in the mirror, and perpetuating the bad feelings that come with that thought. Body checks should be avoided, but body acceptance in the mirror should be embraced. Whenever those bad feelings come, let them pass and look at the facts in the mirror: there is no such thing as “too fat”–that’s a myth pushed on us by companies looking to spend less on fabric and sell more to you. Your body carries you through life and allows you to enjoy every great thing existing has to offer, including good food, people and activities. Your body is not required to look like anyone else’s but your own, and your body does the job! It’s beautiful!

#4: Stay off social media.

The number one unhealthy habit we as growing humans have is obsessing over the opinion and validation of others online. The more you stay off social media, the more likely you are to quit comparisons and love your gorgeous, growing body. After all, this body and life are the only ones we get.

This summer should be one of warmth, happiness and love–don’t let insecurity ruin it.

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