Imagine a day where you don't think about your body, or spend hours ruminating on things you don't like about it. You don't feel pressure to feel 'positive' about your body. You feel neither positive nor negative—rather more neutral.
Body Neutrality, like Mindfulness for the Body
Body neutrality is like a mindfulness practice for the body. The aim is to work toward feeling greater body acceptance by learning to acknowledge body thoughts and feelings that come and go daily without judging them good, bad, or otherwise.
Body neutrality can help you become less invested in negative body thoughts that impact how you feel about your body. This leaves more room to listen and respond to the internal needs of your body (e.g., stress, tiredness, feeling hungry or full) with greater compassion.
Why Body Neutrality as opposed to Body Love?
Our bodies continuously change, evolve, age, get sick, endure injury, go through challenging times. It's difficult (if not impossible) to feel positive about our bodies all the time. Feeling positive about your body may seem unachievable. If this is the case, this is entirely a normal feeling to have.
Body neutrality offers a feasible way to work toward improving your relationship with your body without the pressure of feeling like you have to be positive about it. It's like finding a midway point between negative body image and positive body image.
How to Start Practicing Body Neutrality
The three ingredients when working toward body neutrality is i) observation, ii) non-judgment, and iii) self-compassion. Start slow, when you notice a body thought or feeling enters your mind, acknowledge that it's there.
Try not to force it from your mind as this can make it feel more intense. Try not to judge it, notice it's there, and that's okay. This practice can take time to master if it helps take a breath or a short walk to see if you can move through it.
Finally, and importantly treat you and your thoughts gently; with kindness and compassion, there's no right or wrong in this process.
"It's OK if you don't feel comfortable or at ease in your body today. Just notice. Observe. Be curious. You don't have to judge. Be present with those emotions. And most importantly, offer yourself compassion" - Nicole McDermid
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