It’s a no brainer that as a species we want to feel good ALL THE TIME — I mean, who wakes up in the morning wanting to feel bad? — but with the way society bombards us with unrealistic ideals and goals, it feels like a nearly impossible feat.
I’ve been battling with my brain the past month on whether or not I want to ‘look good’ or ‘feel good.’ Trust me, I know what the ‘right’ answer is but I just can’t overlook the idea that maybe I can have both… (you can, by the way).
Perhaps I’m just looking at it all wrong. There are many different routes to happiness and on our journey there we are presented with many road blocks that either shift us ahead a step or really set us back about a mile. Either way, the destination will always be there and I believe it’s through these road blocks that we can learn more about ourselves and our bodies.
One thing is for sure, while it’s important to know what our destination is, it’s also important to not fixate on it or, even worse, not allow it to change when we change (you will change during this time). Even more so, it’s important to focus on the small steps to get there. So let’s avoid overwhelming our psyche with doubt.
1. Look in the Mirror Optimistically
Just the other day before getting fully undressed to take a shower, I decided I wanted to look at myself in the mirror with my underwear on. I even put my underwear back on to do this. Just as I was pulling them up I had a startling realization that all I was going to do to myself was judge my body. I knew that I wasn’t actually wanting to look at myself in the mirror in a positive way; I just wanted to remind myself about what I wanted to change.
After this moment I decided that every time I looked at myself in the mirror I had to say three positive things about myself. I wasn’t going to avoid looking in mirrors, but rather encourage a positive reinforcement with my reflection. After all, we can always find something negative to say about ourselves, so why would I perpetuate the insecurity?
2. Cleanse Your Feed
At this point in my life I’ve come to realize how my social media outlets work — or at least, how I want them to work. I spend a considerable amount of time on Instagram and Facebook every day so it’s really important that I control what I allow myself to be exposed to.
Recently I decided to filter my social media accounts in an effort to ensure I’m only seeing content that will benefit me intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically. I use Facebook strictly for information, like articles, news, etc., and Instagram for inspiration and keeping up with friends. I do still use Facebook for this to a degree, but limit it to close friends and family.
I started by unfollowing as many people or pages that offered me little to no substance. You can do this by clicking on the arrow in the top right corner of any post and selecting ‘unfollow.’ I also went through my Facebook pages and changed the setting on whichever ones I felt I gained the most knowledge from by clicking ‘Liked’ and then ‘See First.’
3. Comparing Doesn’t Benefit Anyone
Even though Instagram is pretty good at making sure you only see the pages and people you want to follow, it’s also insanely easy to see content you didn’t bargain for. This can obviously be great in helping you to discover new things and people, but it can also throw you into a never ending hole of self doubt, from fitness page to fitness page to fitness page…
Sometimes this can be motivating, to see other women and men attaining their fitness goals, but most of the time it makes us wish we weren’t so ‘lazy’ or undisciplined. The one thing I always remind myself is that there is no sense in comparing. We have all led different lives that have brought us to certain points in our life. It makes no sense to compare yourself to a 25 year old fitness model when you do not value fitness yourself or are not at the same stage in your fitness journey. Not to mention all the other factors (time, money, health, genetics, etc.). It’s their job to look that way; it’s not yours.
4. Read a Book
One terrible habit I’m in the midst of kicking is how much time I spend on my phone right before bed. Aside from it inhibiting my sleep, it also takes away time I could be spending learning more about myself and the world. Now, an hour or more before bed, I turn off my WiFi and data and turn airplane mode on, and I lie in bed reading a book. I have already felt a significant difference with my eyes. They don’t get as dry or feel as strained and I have a much easier time waking in the morning.
Another good (and maybe obvious) tip is to read one book before starting another one. I believe that having multiple books on the go may be stressful to our subconscious minds, making us feel like we have unfinished business and making it more difficult to retain information. And of course, that stress also makes falling asleep that much harder.
5. Ditch the Guilt
No one has control over the way we feel except ourselves, and far too often, we give ourselves daily beatings over decisions we’ve made or didn’t make. You HAVE to be your own best friend! Spend time with yourself often and TREAT yourself often. The next time you want to buy yourself something you want or want to try something new, DO IT. Consciously make a decision that what you are about to purchase for yourself is a GIFT.
For whatever reason we are made to feel that we are not worthy of nice things or to experience a moment of zen. Every week, treat yourself. Whether that be by taking a bath, eating a dessert, buying an outfit, going for a walk, or watching a play, set a day, night, or even hour for you and yourself to go on a ‘date.’ Treat yourself how you WANT to be treated.
There are so many ways we can feel good about our bodies and our minds but the best way to truly know what makes you feel good is by really tuning in to how your body feels. This may seem glaringly obvious but oftentimes we do something because we think it will feel good.
The next time you have an idea of something you want to do or perhaps you’ve done something you expected would make you feel good, sit in the moment for a while and really listen to your body. Monitor the way it feels and whether or not you’ve created an expectation or if what you’re experiencing is authentic.
Trust me, you’ll know.