Our bodies do everything for us, working 24/7 to keep us alive, fight off disease, and recover from all the terrible things we do to them. Rather than looking for ways to get ride of cellulite, stretch marks, or unfashionable body hair, why not spend a little time thanking our bodies for all the hard work?
Using the five main senses – touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing – we can give our bodies some positive messages. From there, we can get really creative to show our sacred vessels some love. Let’s face it, ladies, we’ve spent the better part of our lives criticizing, over or under eating, losing and gaining weight, all the while comparing ourselves to other women, some of whom only exist in the world of Photoshop. It hasn’t helped, right? Let’s try something different.
- Do something that feels good to you. Get a massage, take a bath, lay in the sun (fully protected by sunscreen, of course), go for a hike or a jog if that’s your thing. Do any or all of these with the intention of being mindful of how your body is feeling. Did your therapist work out a knot that had been there so long you didn’t even notice it anymore? Do you feel like a wet noodle after your bath? Do you feel the strength in your muscles after a workout? Feel all of those things and thank your body for allowing you to experience them.
- Eat a special meal or treat (and don’t think about how many calories, carbs or fats it contains!) Cook or buy yourself a nice meal, something that is fresh and really tastes good, not just salty. Of, if you need some comfort foot, go ahead and revel in that mac ‘n’ cheese! Don’t watch TV or answer/play on the phone. Be fully engrossed in the experience of eating. Do you like the texture or the foot? Does it bring back memories? How does your body feel with this special meal in your stomach? Better or worse – take note of how your body responds – and thank your body for converting this food into energy and nutrients.
- Enjoy a scent you love. What is it? A lotion, soap, perfume, essential oil? Maybe it’s a candle. The sense of smell is so important to women, especially, so find something you love the scent of and go for it. Incorporate this with some of the things mentioned above – much of our sense of taste comes from scent – bath salts or massage oil can be infused with any scent you enjoy. Maybe it’s just the smell of clean, fresh sheets on the bed. Whatever you do, just allow yourself at least a few minutes to enjoy the scent of your choice consciously. Close your eyes and breathe it in, grateful that you have the sensory organs that allow you to smell.
- Really look at something you find beautiful. Walk in the woods, go to the fabric store or a museum, look through a microscope or flip through a National Geographic. Marvel at the beautiful colors and shapes before you, knowing that your eyes and your brain make it possible. Thank them and swear off the devices for a day to give your eyes a rest.
- Listen to something you love to hear. Put on the head phones, close your eyes, and really listen. Your favorite music can transport you or bring back memories. Nature sounds can be so rhythmic and relaxing. Whatever it is, really allow your hearing to be the focus, and thank your ears and your brain for making the experience possible.
- Make a list of all the good things about your body. Yes, they exist! We just talked about some of them, right? If you have access to any or all of these senses, your body is doing something right. My personal list includes things like: I rarely get sick, I’ve never broken a bone, and the only surgery I’ve ever needed was my wisdom teeth removal. Paying attention to all the things your body is doing right, rather than always focusing on what you don’t like, is like being a good supervisor for your body. No one likes the manager who only comes around to point out your mistakes, right? It’s bad for morale! Be a good boss to your body and it will be a better employee.
- How about those reproductive organs? I mean, sex is fun, right? Orgasms are fun and relaxing. So why not take your time and really appreciate those private parts? Alone or with a partner, have a little fun and thank your amazing body for this little miracle!
- Get a good night’s sleep regularly! These bodies are always working, even while we sleep, so they need all the rest we can give them. Plus, dreams can be so interesting and everyone’s mood is improved when they’re well rested. Have trouble falling asleep? Try a hot bath or shower with some lavender soap or lotion before bed. Have some chamomile tea. See #7…. A good night’s sleep is its own reward, and your body will be grateful for it.
- Exercise, but not as a punishment for eating that mac ‘n’ cheese. Many of us spend our days at a desk, so we don’t move enough, and our bodies really need it. So go for a walk or a hike, ride your bike, dance, do yoga – work up a swat while being mindful of the wonderful work your body is doing. Feel your heart rate rise, your breathing deepen. Be grateful you can do these things because your body is healthy.
- Meditate. I know, it’s pretty obvious and could also be involved in a lot of the above ideas, too. It’s the very definition of mindfulness. But meditation has physical benefits as well – lowering your blood pressure after a stressful day, shutting off the constant chatter in your head so you can concentrate and/or relax. Even 10 minutes can really be a treat for your magnificent body.
Let’s face it, we’ll all be old someday, God willing, and these bodies will get tired and worn out. While they’re doing so many good things, shouldn’t we appreciate them?
Do you have any other ideas? What else can we do to show our bodies we love them, just as they are?