Body confidence – why do some people have it and others struggle? Perhaps surprisingly, it is less to do with what your body looks like and more do with how you feel about it.

So yes, you could potentially look like a supermodel / Hollywood A-Lister and still feel unhappy about your body. Fame and fortune probably helps but deep down it does not necessarily improve body confidence.

Body confidence is worth mastering as your body is the only thing you have for life. And dissatisfaction with your body can lead to low self-esteem, depression, social anxiety and lack of libido among other things.

Women are six times more likely to suffer from low body confidence, but men do also. So for those of us that don’t look like or have the bank accounts of the Crawfords and Pitts of this world, don’t worry, there are more effective ways of boosting your confidence than strategically-placed moles / highlights and a 6-children strong brood.

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These everyday tips and tricks will help get you started and hopefully gradually push your mind-frame from negative to positive in no time:

Focus on the bits you do like

We all have parts of our bodies that we dislike, but there will also be some that you like.

Before you get dressed each morning, actively look at these parts in the mirror and admire them: ‘My, my, what nice shoulders you have. All the better for doing the YMCA with.’ Or something along those lines. If you find your focus drifting to your lesser-loved bits, mindfully bring it back. Over time, these will be become the first things you think of when you think about your body, not the parts you aren’t fond of.

Positive reinforcement

Think of a body-positive mantra such as: ‘My body is mine, my body is strong, my body is enough’ or ‘My weight does not define my worth’. Say this to yourself everyday, morning and night. You will start to believe it because do you know what? It’s true.

Be kinder

Self-deprecation your weapon of choice? Stop. Funny as it may be to compare your waistline to that of Moby Dick, the resulting damage is very real, especially when you realize you can’t swim several oceans or survive sub-zero winters. If you find yourself making ready to make a derogatory comment about your appearance – don’t!

You wouldn’t say it about someone else, so don’t say it to yourself!

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Wear what you feel comfortable in

You may think it’s superficial, but what you wear can have a positive effect on how you feel. Dress in outfits that make you feel good regardless of what’s trending.

That jumper you’ve had since 8th grade, but still looks awesome? Get it out and get it on*. *Except perhaps in a freak heatwave, in which case get it out, stare lovingly at it and remember how awesome you look in it, whilst trying not to lose your body weight in sweat.

Challenge yourself

Haven’t realised what your body is capable of? Take on a new physical challenge – never learned to ride a bike? Do it now – there is no shame in stabilizers at 28. (OK maybe a little, but they’ll soon come off). Or wanted to do a mountain hike? Sign up for and start training for it (the latter is required to reduce the risk of getting lost / saved by the local air rescue team). Regardless of what you choose, watch your body adapt and be grateful for what it can do.

You say who you are, not the media

Thigh gaps, rippling pecs and year-round tans? This is not real life. Models and celebrities work HARD to look like that – they have trainers, make-up artists, stylists and software to make them look that way. Those images are unrealistic and unattainable so don’t waste your time fretting that you don’t have one ab, let alone six.

Without extensive help you are unlikely to look like that and that’s a good, nay great thing. Because you look like you. And that’s unique.

Hang around positive people

It may be difficult initially, but you need to identify the haters and the naysayers that you know and get rid of them (in a holistic, non-violent sense). It is far easier to be positive and confident when you are surrounded by like-minded people. So wave goodbye to those Negative Nellies and get on with loving yourself and the people that make you happy.

Reward system

L’Oreal was onto something when they championed their motto ‘because you’re worth it’. In short (and to avoid any copyright infringement) you are! And you need to acknowledge it regularly, be it with words of encouragement: ‘I did well today’ or in the form of gifts: “Hi Steve, yes I absolutely would like to purchase this car as a gift from me to me. I’m very welcome.”

You really can improve body confidence, it is up to you. You and your body deserve to be rewarded so go on, treat yourself!

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