1. Embrace the healing power of nature.
Just because this is a season of gratitude and giving, it doesn’t mean it does not have its fair share of stress as well. One simple way to give both your body and soul a boost is to get outside.
Says the University of Minnesota: “Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical well being, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. It may even reduce mortality, according to scientists such as public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell.” (Exercise also delivers these benefits, so take a look at our lineup to find a class or program that appeals to you.)
2. Step away from screens.
A lot is said about the negative impact of screens on kids and teens. However, too much screen time isn’t good for anyone, including you. According to recent Nielsen findings, the typical American spends more than 10 hours a day staring at screens, including computers, tablets, smartphones, televisions, and more.
In addition to being linked with rising rates of obesity and diabetes, screen time also takes people away from the things that matter most in life. As Iowa State University professor of psychology Douglas Gentile told CNN, “The work week still takes up 40 of those hours, sleep at seven hours a night is 49, and if we assume all personal care — such as eating, bathing, dressing, preparing food — is three hours a day, then we have 58 hours a week left over for all other things…This includes hobbies, sports, spending time with children, spending time with friends and romantic partners, reading, learning, exercise, participating in a faith community, volunteer work, and house maintenance. If people are spending over 50 hours a week with media for entertainment purposes, then there’s really no time left for any of the other things we value.”
Recommends Harvard University professor of health sociology Steve Gortmaker, “Throw out those extra screens, and don’t put one in your bedroom. Learn to shut down the iPads and smartphones before you go to sleep and limit the use. Certainly, we need these devices, but try giving yourself a break.”
One aspect particularly detrimental to being thankful for your body in the digital age is social media. In fact, many celebrities are the first to credit their perfect appearances to a combination of airbrushing and Photoshop. While real people may not have access to these resources, it’s safe to assume that the vast majority of people in your life are only sharing their very best images online. After all, don’t you do the same?
Still, it’s easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of feeling like everyone else is not only living a better life than you are but also looking better while doing so. The best way to let go of this negativity may be to sign off social media. While you may not be able to completely sever the cord, unfollowing the accounts that make you feel bad about yourself and/or limiting the amount of time you spend on social media can help you improve your outlook and feel true gratitude for the body you have.
3. Move your body.
When you’re feeling down on your body, the last thing you may feel like doing is exercising. However, as it turns out, the key to feeling better actually lies in moving your body, which triggers the production of “feel-good” chemicals.
While any way you exercise can give you the lift you need to feel better, experts tout the profound potential of yoga, not just in terms of helping you build your body, but also for improving body image. Says Harvard Medical School, “Yoga develops inner awareness. It focuses your attention on your body’s abilities at the present moment. It helps develop breath and strength of mind and body. It’s not about physical appearance….Yoga studios typically don’t have mirrors. This is so people can focus their awareness inward rather than how a pose — or the people around them — looks. Surveys have found that those who practiced yoga were more aware of their bodies than people who didn’t practice yoga. They were also more satisfied with, and less critical of their bodies. For these reasons, yoga has become an integral part in the treatment of eating disorders and programs that promote positive body image and self-esteem.”
Yoga has many other benefits, including supporting mindful eating, boosting weight loss and maintenance, and enhancing overall fitness.
Isn’t it time you stopped focusing on what you don’t like about your body and started celebrating all of the wonderful things it can do? There’s no better place to adopt an attitude of gratitude than at Brick Bodies. Sign up for a trial pass today!