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body positive

If there’s one buzz phrase we’re super psyched has been spreading like wildfire, it’s body positivity. While it may have started as a trendy term, it’s actually grown into a full-fledged movement — and if you’re suddenly eager to get on board, we’re not surprised.

Body positivity is all about accepting and appreciating your body with all of its imperfections and “flaws,” and regardless of any and all changes it may go through. Sound a little easier said than done? Sure, in today’s society, we’re constantly bombarded with unrealistic ideals of beauty. But there are certain measures you can take to build a healthier relationship with your body.

In this guide, we’ll cover all the basics.

Track negative self-talk

In a 2011 body image survey for Glamour magazine, 300 women of all shapes and sizes were asked to write down how many negative thoughts they had about their body throughout the day. On average, they reported having 13 negative thoughts, and a whopping 97 percent admitted to having at least one “I hate my body” moment. The fact is, these thoughts can become highly destructive over time. Because the more you think them, the more you start to believe them — and that can negatively impact your mood, behavior, and overall self-worth. After all, neuroscience has proven that the more you think negative thoughts about your body, the stronger those neural pathways get. But if you can immediately acknowledge them, you can mentally train yourself to think more body-positive thoughts.

Here’s what to do: Start keeping a log of your negative thoughts about your body. Don’t just record the thought itself, but the time/place and circumstances surrounding it. That way, you can start identifying certain factors that trigger those critical thoughts. The more aware you are of this negative self-talk, the sooner you can start to stop it.

Related: How To Be Confident In Lingerie

Start positive affirmations

Now that you’ve begun to weed out those negative thoughts about your body, you’ve made room for some positive ones.

Plus-size supermodel Ashley Graham as admitted that she relies on saying daily affirmations to herself in the mirror keep her self-esteem strong. Need a little inspiration? Graham’s affirmations include: “You are bold. You are brilliant, and you are beautiful.” And if she notices a so-called flaw, she makes it a point to say something about it with a positive spin — as in, “’I love you too, hips.”

So go ahead and try it: come up with a mantra that you repeat every day, or if you feel too bashful to talk to yourself out loud, write it down and read it. You’d be amazed at what simply cracking a smile can do, too: research has shown that smiling at yourself in the mirror for just a few seconds can significantly boost your happiness and improve how you feel about yourself while lowering your stress levels.

Follow body positive influencers

It’s easy to feel down on yourself after scrolling through your social media feeds. After all, most people are only posting pictures where they look their best (and in many cases, those pictures have been filtered, Photoshopped, or otherwise doctored).

That’s why it’s a great idea to start filling your newsfeed with posts from body-positive celebrities, bloggers, and other influencers — anyone who’s likely to make you feel better in your own skin. And fortunately, there are a number of A-listers who have been known to post images and messages that promote celebrating your body.

For example, Hillary Duff has been known to post Instagrams that clearly show her cellulite or other “imperfections.” She once captioned a photo: “Since websites and magazines love to share ‘celeb flaws’ — well I have them! My body has given me the greatest gift of my life: Luca, 5 years ago. I’m turning 30 in September and my body is healthy and gets me where I need to go. Ladies, let’s be proud of what we’ve got and stop wasting precious time in the day wishing we were different, better, and unflawed.”

Wouldn’t you rather scroll through to see images of women who embrace their bodies next time you check IG?

Ultimately, body positivity means changing the way you see yourself, and the aforementioned steps are a great start in your journey to becoming comfortable in your own skin. One final tip: Be sure to surround yourself with body-positive people. Supporting each other in your endeavors to embrace your bodies can only make you more successful.

Related: Imperfection Is Beauty: 6 Beautiful Things That Make You Unique

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Rebecca Strong

Rebecca is a Boston-based freelance writer who focuses on style, fitness, food, and travel. She has contributed to such publications as HuffPost, Elite Daily and U.S. News & World Report. When she's not writing, she can be found at home or in the studio working on the songs for her upcoming album. Her favorite bra is a black demi-cup style with all-over-lace — timeless and feminine.

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