The Secrets to Beach Body Confidence

Whether you’ve already taken a break or you’re heading on an end of summer holiday, are you one of those people who can’t wait to bare all on the beach, or do you cringe at the thought of having to get into a tiny swim suit?

Are you that person who confidently jogs the length and width of a warm sandy strip proudly showing off your body, or are you the one hiding under a giant multicolour umbrella, a neck to toe kaftan and a magazine featuring “the best and worst beach bodies”?

Whether you are a man or a woman, there is no denying the pressures of modern society to look our best, especially in the summer when we strip ourselves of the wintery layers to reveal, well, a lot.

So, you decide to try on your last year’s holiday clothes, take a peek in the mirror, that reflective surface that ruthlessly reveals your less than perfect self, and, you are either happy with what you see, or… shock horror!

If you are not happy with what you see, consider this for a moment: when you look at yourself in the mirror, what you see depends on the quality of that mirror. As well as this, the mental image you have of yourself helps determine how you will react. So, for example, if you think of yourself as worthwhile and valued, that quality will come across in everything you do, and to other people too. Molded by both internal and external factors, your self-image makes a huge difference in how you feel and act.

The mental image you have of yourself comprises your body image, your past personal experiences, relationships, choices, beliefs and attitudes. When you look in the mirror, all these are filtered through your own personal brain sieve and reflected back to you as your “reality”.

Imagine describing yourself to me. Would you emphasize your great sense of humour or your best physical features? Or would you go straight for your trouble spots? Your answer will largely depend on the mental image you hold of yourself.

With a negative body image, you could have a distorted perception of your shape and size, compare your body to others, and feel shame and anxiety about your body. Being unhappy with your body can affect how you think and feel about yourself as a person. A poor body image can lead to emotional distress, low self-esteem, unhealthy dieting habits, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.

Researchers suspect that chemical imbalances in the brain may be at the root of this. Chemical imbalances can be caused by stress and anxiety, lack of good quality sleep, poor nutritional habits, and a lethargic lifestyle, amongst others.

So, knowing all this, how can you make sure that whether you choose to wear a tanga, a pair of speedos, or a kaftan on the beach this summer, you are happy in your own skin and feel confident and free?

1/ LEAVE YOUR PAST WHERE IT BELONGS: As Richard Bandler ( co-creator of NLP) says, the best thing about the past is that it is over. If you are insecure about you looks because you were bullied when you were little, so was I. It’s not nice, is it? So, quit bullying yourself.

At the same time, the best thing about the future is that you can make it whatever you want it to be. If you want to feel better about your body, waiting until your body has improved so that you can get to feel good, is kind of silly. Why not feel good now, and then go do what you need to do to have the body you want. When you feel good, doing what is necessary will be easier and more enjoyable.

2/ MAKE LOTS OF GOOD CHEMICALS: Good health, physical and mental, is about maintaining finely balanced brain and body chemistry. Keeping your body healthy through proper nutrition and exercise improves how you feel physically and mentally, and enhances the quality of your life. A healthy state of body and mind promotes a positive self-image.

Many people diet or exercise because they feel they have to. They don’t really know why eating healthily and keeping active is so vital. Think about how good you feel after a workout, or when you’ve eaten a healthy meal. Your brain releases lots of feel good chemicals after both, and this contributes hugely to your self-esteem, and a more positive body image.

3/ QUIT COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS: We all want to look our best, but a healthy body is not always linked to appearance. In fact, healthy bodies come in different shapes and sizes. Yes, healthy lifestyle choices are key to improving your body image. But improving your body image also means changing the way you think about your body. Your body is unique to you. That is why it’s different from everyone else’s. So, comparing yourself to others or wishing you had someone else’s body is not a clever thing to do and it’s not going to make you feel better about yourself. For some reason, animals are so much better at this than we are. Do you think tigers in Africa look at each other and go: “oh look at her, I wish I had her paws!” If your thoughts don’t make you feel good, stop them, now!

4/ DON’T BE SO SELF-CENTERED: A recent client was shocked, to say the least, when I told him to stop being so self-centered. A lovely soft-spoken man, who came to me for help because he felt self-conscious around certain people in his business. The thing is, the line between self-consciousness and self-centredness can be a fine one. If you are too self-conscious this means you are focusing on yourself too much. This, as in my client’s case, can be misconstrued by others as arrogance, or even rudeness. Instead, start to pay more attention to the wellbeing of others. By focusing on making other people feel good, you’ll strengthen your relationship, both with others and with yourself. Not only will other people like you more, but you will start to like yourself more too.

5/ DO SOMETHING! That’s what my dear mum tells me every time I complain about anything at all. “Well, what are you gonna do about it?” (but in Spanish). If the mirror doesn’t necessarily reflect reality, could it be that you own eyes haven been lying to you too? If your mum, your partner and your friends tell you you look good, you look good. People don’t take the time and effort to pay you a compliment unless they mean it.

So, learn to acknowledge and appreciate your assets. By all means assess your weaknesses, and do something to improve them: eating right, getting adequate sleep and exercising will help balance the chemicals and hormones in your body associated with stress, anxiety and a low self-esteem.

With a healthier body image, you’ll have a more realistic perception of your size and shape. You will also feel more comfortable and happier with your body, on and off the beach!




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