11 Body Kindness Tips That Will Make You a Happier, Less Anxious Person
We can all be our own worst critics, and that criticism can be harmful in ways we don’t even realise. And that’s why one of the very best things we can do for ourselves is practise body kindness. When we are kind to our bodies, and respect our bodies, it not only helps us physically, but emotionally and mentally as well.
We learn to say ‘thank you’ to others at a very early age – but for whatever reason, we rarely thank ourselves.
It’s time to try!
When you practise body kindness, form a positive connection with your body, and make life choices from a place of love, you will be a happier and less anxious person.
In this article, I’ll discuss why negative self-talk can be so harmful, and 11 ways you turn that around and can start practising body kindness today.
When does negative self-talk become dangerous?
Words can absolutely hurt you. Especially when they are coming from yourself, day in and day out.
Negative self-talk becomes ingrained in your mind until it’s the only thing you can hear. It can make you less confident, less excited about life, and really affect your psyche. Studies have found that people with low self-esteem are more likely to be anxious, depressed, and suicidal.
And, when you don’t like your body, and are mean to your body, it can even result in binge eating.
What is binge eating? It’s when you feel out of control of your eating habits and consume large quantities of food in a short period of time.
You might feel ashamed of your eating habits, and loathe yourself and your body even more – but this only drives you to binge again. It’s a vicious cycle, and once you’re in it, it’s hard to break out of.
But self-love is a powerful thing, and practising body kindness can have major transformative effects on your mental health, physical health, relationships, career – literally your entire life.
11 body kindness tips to help you love your body
If you want to learn to love your body and your life, practising body kindness is essential. Here are my top 11 body kindness tips to help you become a happier, healthier person.
1. Practise positive self-talk
The first step in learning to love your body is to speak positively about it.
Honestly, it’s pretty appalling the way we talk about ourselves – you would never talk about your family or your friends that way, right?
Instead of focusing on the details of yourself you don’t like, try to appreciate all the amazing things your body can do for you.
When you look in the mirror, tell yourself that you love yourself. Respect your body for its ability to breathe and talk and walk and move and heal you when you get sick or injured.
Remind yourself of all the things you and your body have accomplished together. You can even put notes on your mirror with positive, loving reminders that help you shift your mindset about yourself.
2. Try meditation
When life is stressful and you are bogged down with negative thoughts, meditation is always something you can turn to. Even a simple ten-minute meditation in the morning can help balance your mind and prepare you to walk into the day with confidence.
Take a few minutes to sit and relax, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. It is best to do this in a quiet, comfortable space that is free from distraction.
If you don’t know where to start, you can try a guided meditation like the Breaking Beyond-Guided Meditation podcast, The Mindful Minute podcast or any number of other guided meditations online.
Meditation is a method of body kindness. It can help you become more in tune with your body and your thoughts, and find the inner peace you absolutely deserve.
3. Get a massage
Another fantastic act of body kindness is getting a massage. For one, massages feel fantastic, but massages can also reduce stress, improve circulation, and improve your immune function.
Massage therapy is a very real therapy. Athletes commonly use massage to help prevent injury, relieve tension, improve alignment and keep their muscles healthy and balanced.
There are so many benefits to a good massage, so you should treat yourself to one now and again!
There is something so wonderful about laying on the massage table and letting your worries drift away. Your body will thank you, and it will give your mind some time to relax too.
Plus, there are so many fun massage options to choose from – from hot stone massages to Swedish massages to deep tissues massages – you may just have to go for more than one.
4. Find movement you enjoy
Getting your body moving is an important piece to staying healthy inside and out. But that doesn’t mean you need to hop on the treadmill or drag yourself to the gym. Far from it.
In fact, if you don’t enjoy your exercise, there is a good chance you won’t keep it up, and what we are looking for here is sustainability.
What you need to do is find a movement you truly enjoy. It can be a swim in the pool, a walk in the park, or even a dance session in your living room. You don’t need to take a dance class or have choreography – just get your limbs wiggling and shake the stress of the day away!
Find a way to move that makes both your mind and your body feel good. Try some gentle yoga, or a forest hike. Maybe you would like to try some Zumba classes with friends. Just whatever movement feels like a gift and not a chore.
Putting enjoyable movement into your regular routine is a body kindness tool that will help you feel happier and healthier.
5. Get enough sleep
Sometimes, life gets in the way of a healthy sleeping schedule – but sleep is SO important for your health. One of the best ways to show your body kindness is by simply getting enough sleep.
Sleep is beneficial for both your mind and body. If you don’t get enough sleep you can’t function fully. You can impact your immune system, hunger cues, and memory. You can also become irritable and feel less enthusiastic about your daily activities.
Practise body kindness by giving your body its well-earned rest.
Try to form a regular nighttime and morning routine so your body can fall into a natural rhythm. It may help you to stop using screens before bed, or to carve out 30 minutes to read a book to silence your own thoughts before you fall asleep.
6. Start a gratitude journal
Focusing on the positive instead of the negative is a great way to practise body kindness and boost your self-love. One of the easiest ways to start is with a gratitude journal.
You can make a morning or nighttime routine (or both!) of writing down three things you are grateful for in your life. This is a great time to thank your body, but it certainly doesn’t need to be about your body.
It could be anything from: ‘My body allows me to dance’ to ‘I have a roof over my head’ to ‘I have friends who show up for me.’
There are a million things to be grateful for when you really stop and think about them – and, when you DO take the time to think about them on a regular basis, it will help you feel more grounded and at peace with your life and yourself.
7. Redirect your social media feed
The social media algorithm shows you what it thinks you want to see – so it’s time to shake up the formula.
If you follow social media accounts that promote dieting and weight loss – unfollow them.
Delete people who make you feel bad about your body or say things that are triggering for you.
Instead, seek out people who have positive messages, or people who you deeply relate to. Follow more puppies or kitties or whatever content makes you smile.
Because social media should be a positive outlet – not a negative one. And too often we get sucked down a hole of negativity on our apps.
You do have some say about what shows up on your feed, but sometimes, it’s healthiest to unplug from social media altogether for a period of time.
8. Schedule time for yourself
So what do you do when you unplug? Why, the world is your oyster, my dear!
You can take a long, relaxing bath, take a stroll on the beach or in the countryside, call a friend you’ve wanted to catch up with, do some artwork, read a book, or people-watch at your favourite coffee shop.
There are no rules to ‘me-time’ only that you actually take it! So many of us get so busy with our lives that we forget to make time for ourselves, but it’s one of the very best ways to practise body kindness.
The next time you start filling out your calendar, schedule blocks of time for yourself. These self-love sessions should be as non-negotiable as your other commitments, because you are absolutely worthy of your own time.
When you fill your own cup first, you will have so much more energy to focus on the other areas of your life.
9. Give yourself permission to eat
Everyone needs to eat. It’s simply a biological fact.
And, even though you’ve been taught to think that there are good foods and bad foods and that certain meals are ‘cheat meals’ that is actually a lie.
You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want it. One of the best ways to practise body kindness is by giving your body nourishing food. When you restrict food and starve your body, or tell your body certain foods are off-limits, it will only lead to bingeing down the line.
All foods have value and can fit into a healthy diet. Food is simply nourishment, and there is no such thing as food that is good or bad, only food that makes your BODY feel good or bad.
For example, some people have negative body reactions when they eat dairy products, so they learn to eat less of them. But, you shouldn’t be basing your food choices around the voice in your head, because that is an emotional choice, not a physical one.
10. Learn to eat mindfully
So how do you learn what foods make your body feel good? Or how much to eat and when to eat it? Well, you can learn how to eat mindfully.
One great way to do so is through intuitive eating or a food freedom program.
Intuitive eating aka food freedom teaches you to listen to your body’s cues of hunger, satisfaction, and fullness. It will also help you understand the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger, so you can tell what your body truly needs.
We are all born with intuitive eating habits, but we get lost in the noise of diet culture and the media and forget how to listen to the one voice that actually matters – our internal one.
Finding self-love and food freedom through intuitive eating can take time, but it is a process that promotes body kindness in so many ways. In fact, many of the intuitive eating principles are all about body kindness!
11. Ask for help
The body kindness journey isn’t always easy to navigate alone, especially if you’ve been practising negative self-talk for a long time.
Sometimes, body kindness is simply asking for help – in fact, it’s often the kindest thing you can do for yourself. This help could be from a friend or loved one, or in the form of an emotional eating therapist or food freedom coach.
If you’re struggling with body image issues and disordered eating, it might be time to reach out.
Find freedom and love in the skin you’re in
We only get one body – an incredible body that grows with us and protects us from birth until death.
Bodies are amazing. And it’s important to treat your body like the gift it is. When you do, you will find you are a happier, less anxious person than ever before.
But, if you have trouble finding body kindness on your own with the tips I’ve listed above, feel free to reach out for a chat.
I went on my own very long and complicated journey to self-love before I became the empowered emotional eating therapist I am today, and I want nothing more than to lift others up into this freedom with me.