Body neutrality affirmations can be a powerful tool, guiding us toward a healthier relationship with our bodies. These affirmations offer an antidote to the pressures we face in a culture that idolizes youth, thinness, able-bodied-ness, and an unrealistic beauty standard.
They help us replace negative thoughts and guide us to a place of body acceptance.
What are affirmations?
Affirmations are positive statements or phrases we repeat to ourselves regularly, aiming to cultivate a more positive mindset. They are designed to counter negative self-talk and promote resilience.
When we regularly practice affirmations, we use our brain’s neuroplasticity, which is its ability to reorganize and adapt. Affirmations can stimulate the brain’s reward center, releasing feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine. Given time, this can help us reshape neural pathways associated with self-acceptance and self-confidence, leading to improved mental health.
It gives us the opportunity to dampen down many of the harmful messages we have internalized from diet culture and the oppressive beauty industry.
Body Neutrality versus Body Positivity
Body neutrality is an approach that encourages us to shift our focus away from our appearance towards accepting and appreciating our bodies for their inherent worth and functionality. Unlike the body positivity movement, which emphasizes body love, body neutrality seeks to disconnect our worthiness from our body altogether. Body positivity assumes that everyone can reach a point where they feel positive about their physical appearance. But not all of us may get there.
Wanting to look good is not inherently bad or negative. It’s natural for us to want to present ourselves in a way that makes us feel confident and comfortable. It becomes problematic when the pursuit of looking good leads to excessive focus on appearance, negatively impacts our self-esteem or stops us from participating in events in our life.
Body neutrality helps to remind us that our bodies are vessels for experiencing life and that they have inherent value regardless of how they look. It emphasizes the idea that our bodies are just one aspect of who we are, and indeed maybe even the least interesting thing about us. Our core values, beliefs, passions, and actions are all vital elements of who we are as a human being.
Practicing body respect and self-compassion offers a path to a healthier and more peaceful relationship with one’s body.
For those of us in midlife, our bodies go through changes that are both profound and, at times, challenging. It can be overwhelming and make us feel completely out of control. But it can also be the perfect time to shift our focus away from societal pressures and give the finger to oppressive beauty standards.
What does it mean to be body neutral?
Sarah, was a woman in her early 50s, who, like many of us, face the challenges of midlife. Sarah began to experience a shift in her body that brought about a wave of self-doubt and insecurity. She felt pressure to conform to societal beauty standards, and this took a toll on her self-esteem-not to mention her budget.
After many unsuccessful (and expensive!) attempts using highly touted potions, creams and various supplements, Sarah decided to explore a different way. She came across the concept of body neutrality and started incorporating body neutrality affirmations into her daily routine. These affirmations allowed her to shift her focus away from appearance and towards self-acceptance and appreciation for her body’s functionality.
Over time, Sarah noticed significant changes in her well-being. She no longer obsessed over her appearance and began to appreciate her body for what it could do. She started practicing yoga, which she had always wanted to try but had hesitated due to her self-image concerns. With the help of body neutrality affirmations, she grew more confident and embraced her uniqueness.
Sarah’s story demonstrates the transformative power of body neutrality affirmations in helping women improve their mental and emotional well-being, embrace change, and navigate their unique phases of life with confidence and self-acceptance.
Body Neutral Affirmations
If you are struggling to have a better relationship with your body then using body neutral affirmations can be a helpful first step. Choose a few of the affirmations from the list below that resonate with you and practice saying them to yourself, ideally on a daily basis. Or use them as a counter to negative thoughts when they come up.
1. My body is a vessel for my life experiences, and I appreciate it for all it has allowed me to do.
2. I am more than my appearance; my worth goes far beyond how I look.
3. My body’s changes are a natural part of my journey, and I embrace them with grace and self-acceptance.
4. I honor body’s uniqueness and the wisdom that comes with age.
5. My body is strong, resilient, and capable of adapting to the changes that come with midlife.
6. I release the need to compare myself to others and celebrate my individuality.
7. I choose to nourish my body with love, kindness, and care, regardless of its shape or size.
8. My beauty radiates from the inside out, and it shines through my smile and the twinkle in my eyes.
9. I am in tune with my body’s needs, and I prioritize my well-being above societal expectations.
10. I let go of the pressure to conform to external beauty standards and embrace my authentic self.
11. My self-worth is not determined by the number on the scale or the reflection in the mirror.
12. I honor my body’s history and all the adventures it has carried me through.
13. I am grateful for the wisdom that comes with age, and I cherish the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
14. I release the need for perfection and accept myself as a beautifully imperfect work in progress.
15. My body is a source of strength, and I appreciate it for its enduring vitality.
16. I am deserving of self-care, self-love, and self-compassion, no matter my age or appearance.
17. I choose to fill my thoughts with positivity and gratitude for my body and its abilities.
18. I let go of judgments, both self-imposed and from others, and choose to focus on self-acceptance.
19. My worth is not defined by societal expectations but by the love and kindness I show myself and others.
20. I celebrate the unique journey of midlife and all the opportunities it brings for growth and self-discovery.
21. I reject the idea that I must conform to youth-centered beauty ideals and embrace my authenticity.
22. My body deserves love and respect at every stage of life, and I am committed to providing it.
23. I trust my body’s wisdom and its ability to guide me toward optimal well-being.
24. I am a beautiful, unique, and valuable individual.
25. My body is transitioning naturally through menopause, and I embrace this new chapter with self-compassion.
26. I acknowledge the fluctuations in my body during menopause and treat myself with kindness and understanding.
27. I am at peace with the ebb and flow of my body’s changes during this transformative phase of life.
28. My body’s wisdom guides me through menopause, and I trust its innate ability to adapt and thrive.
29. I release any shame or embarrassment associated with menopausal symptoms and embrace them as part of my journey.
30. I am not defined by hormonal shifts; I am defined by my strength, resilience, and wisdom.
31. Midlife is a natural transition, and I honor my body for navigating it as best it can.
32. I focus on nurturing my body’s health and well-being, rather than focusing on my appearance.
33. My worth is not determined by social media or the opinions of others; it comes from within.
34. I choose to celebrate the wisdom that midlife brings and deepen connection I have with my body.
35. My body is my lifelong companion, and I am grateful for its support and resilience.
36. I release the need to compare my journey to others and embrace my unique experience.
37. I prioritize self-care during midlife, knowing that my body deserves it.
38. I am resilient, and I have overcome challenges before; I will navigate menopause with strength and courage.
39. Midlife is a transformative phase, and I am excited about the personal growth it offers.
40. My body’s changes do not diminish my beauty or worth; they enhance my authenticity and uniqueness.
41. I choose to view midlife as an opportunity for self-discovery and personal empowerment.
42. I am in tune with my body’s needs, and I nourish it with love and compassion during menopause.
43. I am the author of my life’s journey, and I write it with love, acceptance, and gratitude.
44. My body is a source of wisdom, and I honor its signals and cues.
45. I am proud of the resilience and strength I have shown in embracing the changes of menopause.
46. My self-worth is unwavering, and I carry it with me through the transformative journey of midlife.
47. I choose to let go of societal expectations and embrace the freedom to be my authentic self during menopause.
48. I am a beautiful, unique, and powerful woman, and I navigate menopause with grace and self-love.
Other Body Neutrality exercises
Engaging in body neutrality means affirming that your body warrants care, compassion, and kindness, regardless of any negative thoughts you may have about its appearance. Approaching body neutrality in this way allows you to place less emphasis on body size and outward appearance, opting instead for a commitment to unwavering self-care.
Some things to try:
Practice Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend. Acknowledge that everyone has imperfections and struggles, and that’s entirely normal.
Limit Exposure to Negative Influences: Reduce exposure to media, social media accounts, or individuals that perpetuate unrealistic beauty standards or body shaming. Curate your online environment to be more body-positive.
Surround Yourself with Support: Build a supportive community of friends, family, or online groups that embrace body neutrality and self-acceptance. Share your journey and learn from others. Check here for a list of body neutral podcasts.
Focus on Health, Not Weight: Shift your mindset from weight to health. Concentrate on nourishing your body with nutritious foods and engaging in physical activities that make you feel good and improve overall well-being.
Mindful Self-Care: Engage in self-care practices that prioritize your mental and emotional health. Activities such as meditation, yoga, journaling, and deep breathing exercises can help you stay grounded and centered.
Wardrobe Choices: Dress in ways that make you feel comfortable and confident, irrespective of whether they adhere to fashion trends or societal expectations.
Celebrate Achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate your personal achievements and qualities that have nothing to do with your body’s appearance .Recognize your talents, skills, and contributions.
Set Boundaries: Learn to set boundaries with people who make negative comments about your physical characteristics. Politely but firmly communicate your boundaries and expectations.
Seek Professional Help: If body image concerns are significantly affecting your mental health, consider seeking support from a therapist or counselor who specializes in body image issues.
Educate Yourself: Learn about the societal pressures and unrealistic beauty ideals that contribute to body dissatisfaction. Understanding the roots of these pressures can help you navigate them more effectively.
More Than A Body by Lexie and Lindsay Kite, The Body Liberation Project by Chrissy King and Embody: Learning to Love your Unique Body by Connie Sobczak as 3 great reads to get you started.
Practice Gratitude: Regularly express gratitude for the functions and capabilities of your body. Focus on what your body enables you to experience and achieve.
Remember that cultivating body neutrality is a journey that takes time and patience. Be gentle with yourself and allow for moments of self-reflection and growth. With consistent effort and self-compassion, you can develop a healthier and more accepting relationship with your body.
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