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Melli O'Brien



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Healing Body Image Issues

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness.

Today, I'm going to talk about

healing body image issues.

So according to research from Ann

Kearney Cooke and Diana Tieger,

around 91% of women are unhappy with

their bodies and resort to dieting

to achieve a better body shape.

In another survey, 40% of women and about

20% of men said they were considering

cosmetic surgery in the near future.

So having a negative body image, you

know, that feeling of being constantly

dissatisfied with the way your body

looks is associated with higher

levels of depression, low self-esteem,

anxiety and fixations on losing weight.

This is a really tender

topic for me personally.

I'm in that 91% a lot of the time.

I had an eating disorder

when I was a teenager.

And even though I've done a lot of

healing and growing since then, this

probably still remains one of my

greatest challenges to work with in life.

Now, many factors contribute to a

negative body image - our culture,

our upbringing, the way the human

mind is wired, our peer group.

But the biggest influence for most

of us is advertising and media.

When we constantly scroll through

images of filtered and photo-shopped

and polished images of so-called

ideal beauty standards, we're

often left feeling deficient.

In fact, research has shown that using

social media for only 30 minutes a day

has the potential to negatively change

the way a person perceives their body.

One 2010 study also showed that 47%

of elementary school girls reported

wanting to lose weight after looking

through these kinds of pictures.

Now for women, this can be

especially hard because early in

life, we get the message that our

physical appearance is what matters.

So many of us have a tendency

to become really self-critical

about physical attributes that

we don't feel in measuring up.

But it's not just women.

Many men are also really

self-critical as well.

And what can happen is when we start

being self-critical when we're young,

it can become a deep seated habit.

But, you know, the more mindful

awareness we can bring to those

self-critical thoughts, the more

we can learn to let them go and

switch our focus to self-acceptance

and self-compassion instead.

Our minds are trainable.

So each time we practice being kinder

to ourselves, we soften the inner

critic and strengthen the muscle of

self-love, confidence and inner strength.

So my invitation for today and ongoing

is every time you catch yourself

being critical on yourself, about

how you look, pause, and let go of

those thoughts and then offer yourself

some kind and supportive words.

Offer yourself kindness instead

of criticism, acceptance

instead of aggression.

And in this way, you will grow true

confidence from the inside out and

reclaim your own power to feel at

home within your own skin and at

ease with who you are right now.

So as always, thank you for your

practice and your presence here with us.

And let's now settle in

for today's meditation.

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