Your body can be a source of joy or a source of pain. While it’s unavoidable to experience pain now and then, much of the pain comes from your RELATIONSHIP with your body.
You might experience emotional pain when looking at the scale, or while exercising to shed the extra fat. You might have an illness and fearfully anticipate pain. You might be ashamed of your physical desires. Disabilities can become a major part of your identity, causing pain.It’s not just plus-size, disabled and sick people, or women, who have these problems.
Fear-based self-care can backfire. Developing a good mental relationship with your body which informs your self-care is really the way to go.
Herbs like Guduchi, Tulsi (Holy Basil) and Turmeric can boost your immune system and improve the way you handle stress. Tulsi, especially, tends to increase self-love and forgiveness. All of them can improve moods and help you shift your attitude in a body positive direction.
Herbs can’t do absolutely everything, however. That’s why Nambu recommends not only herbs, but also the following practices for a body positive life.
Avoid Labels & “Flaw” Thinking
You and your body are constantly changing. Researchers in the 1950’s discovered that 98% of the atoms in your body are replaced every year (1). The research of Dr. Jonas Frisen from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden estimates that most cells, overall, are replaced every seven to 10 years. (2).
Labeling yourself fat, disabled, sick, etc, and identifying yourself with the labels, may help keep you stuck in them. Instead of saying “I’m obese” or “I’m sick,” think about the possibilities available in the NOW. At the same time, acknowledge your feelings that may come from these conditions. Realize they are not flaws and that you have a lot of power to change your reality and reach positive physical goals.
Learn two more effective techniques for a breakthrough in self-love and in the way you accept and appreciate your body.
As Above, So Below - Your Body, Your Temple
Spiritual people often run into conflicting thoughts about physical reality. It may be possible that you existed within monasteries and body shaming religious movements in the current and past lives. Pay attention to thoughts and feelings as indicators of dogmas you may have picked up subconsciously. They may include guilt and shame about desires, body type, and your relationship with the material world
Confront Your Inner Bully
Try this exercise. Stand in front of the mirror naked and pay attention to any feelings or negative self-talk. Sexuality psychotherapist Caitlin Cantor LCSW, CST calls this “getting to know your inner bully.” She recommends speaking these negative thoughts and feelings out loud to bring them to the light of awareness.
In a Psychology Today web article (3), she provides further instructions. “Speak your negative thoughts out loud. Notice your tone of voice; pay attention to sensations in your body as you speak, and let yourself feel your feelings. As you get to know this inner-bully you’ve been spending so much time with, consider how devastating it is to be bullied so much. The more often you become aware that your inner-bully is present, the more you can decide not to entertain its harshness.”
After this process, Cantor recommends replacing the thoughts with affirmations containing the word “I”. “I am beautiful” is a common one for women.
Exercise for Health, Not to Lose Weight
Keep all of your self-care practices positive. Do yoga or physical exercise for health and/or spiritual communion, not to de-fat yourself. The goal is to feel good and to make friends with your body and mind. You’re not at war with your body.
Give Your Body Nutrients as Sacred Gifts
Give your body nutritious gifts it enjoys. If you have a hard time enjoying healthy food, take a cooking class or find yummy recipes. If you’re pressed for time, make sure the yummy recipes don’t require a lot of it.