By Karen Kwan
I’d bet that any one of us can name off a part of our physique we’d like to change – even if we’re more of less happy with our appearance. “But it’s one thing to want to improve your weight, for example, and another to be obsessive about it, and preoccupied with being perfect,” says Jennifer Cohen, best-selling author of No Gym Required. On the CW’s new show Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers, Cohen works on empowering people and helping them to train themselves to develop healthier patterns of behaviour. Here are three ways to help keep you from being your own worst critic.
Snap yourself out of negative thinking. “This is simple but it works into triggering different patterns,” says Cohen, and all you need is an elastic band around your wrist. Whenever you start to think a negative thought about your body, snap the elastic as a signal to stop yourself from pursuing this train of thought.
Post reminders about your strengths. Yes, this may seem a little reminiscent of SNL’s Stuart Smalley (“I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me!”) but Cohen swears by placing Post-it Notes around your house – on the fridge, on the bathroom mirror, by your closet, etc. – listing your strengths. “It sounds silly, but small changes such as this will help retrain your brain,” she says.
Practice positive thinking. Pay more attention to your internal voice and when you catch yourself in the middle of a negative thought, focus on flipping it into a positive statement about yourself. For example, rather than “I’d look so much better if I lost 20 pounds,” focus on something you feel good about, such as how proud you are of your toned, strong arms.
Following these three strategies will help get you on the road to accepting who you are. As for exercise and diet, Cohen notes that these will both factor into your psychological well-being. “Exercise will get your endorphins going, and will give you a sense of accomplishment,” she says, while healthy diet will help you feel strong and healthy, which will in turn contribute to boosting your self-esteem.