As summertime approaches, many people begin to get more critical of their bodies in anticipation of wearing bathing suits and being more exposed while out in the sun.
This can be a time of massive anxiety for some who may feel unhappy with their bodies or for those who may be struggling with or are in recovery from eating disorders and or body image issues. Visions of walking into a pool party or onto the beach and stripping down to a bathing suit can be a source of panic for people who are already self-conscious of their appearance on a daily basis.
It is important to approach this time of year by staying focused on having a healthy and positive mindset. With that, a key step to maintaining a good outlook is knowing how to eliminate thoughts and behaviors that could lead you down a negative path. Here are three ways to flip the script and have an emotionally healthier, self-esteem building this Summer.
1. Overcome Negative Thoughts About Self-Image
Overcoming negative self-image thoughts about yourself or others around you during the summertime can be challenging. This is when eating disorder voices scream the loudest, and this is also when we need to extend the most compassion and gratitude to ourselves.
It is somewhat natural to experience negative thoughts about self or body image in the summer as we are often comparing ourselves to other people. It may sound silly, but honoring the thoughts as they arise and acknowledging why you may be having them is a great way to flip the script.
When you catch yourself in this mental state, express gratitude to yourself for how far you have come, the hard work you have put in to living a healthy lifestyle and give yourself some grace for the pain you may be experiencing underneath those thoughts.
For example, you may be feeling down because of something you ate that makes you feel guilty. Say to yourself, “This is a great opportunity to learn from my thoughts. Why does it make me feel bad? Is this realistic? Or is just my eating disorder that is trying to raise its voice?" Staying in awareness of your self-talk can help you overcome negative thinking.
2. Focus On Building Healthy Relationships
Getting rid of toxic relationships is a fundamental component of sustaining good mental health. Relationships take a lot of energy and if we are focused on the ones that drain us or are toxic to our health, it opens the doors to negative thinking and self-destructive behaviors. If you are inside a toxic relationship with a loved one, it may be wise to distance yourself from them for a while.
Instead of fighting old relationships that are not working or supporting you, concentrate on building new, healthy relationships or even working on developing current relationships you have that could be a more positive influence on you. Reach out to people who leave you feeling uplifted and motivated. Fostering these types of relationships can be a powerful way to stay optimistic.
Being mindful of who you allow into your life and mental space is imperative. Romantic relationships, in particular, can be full of ups and downs, so it is important that you stay vigilant with creating healthy boundaries and honoring the most important relationship you truly have, which is the one with yourself.
3. Keep A Positive Attitude
If you are experiencing negative thoughts and emotions, the best thing to do is to let them out and give them room to breathe. The more we try to push them away or bottle them up, the more likely we are to move down a negative path. Allowing ourselves to feel can help us work to shift our thoughts to more positive ones.
Another great thing to do to keep an optimistic and positive attitude is to play and do things you love like going for a walk, doing yoga or dancing to your favorite music. When we make time to be playful, laugh and have fun, we naturally move away from any self-destructive thinking.
If you or a loved one are struggling with negative thought patterns or body image issues, contact us today to learn more about how we can help you navigate these tough waters.
Foundations Recovery Network’s mission is to be the leader in evidence-based, integrated treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders through clinical services, education and research. Our vision is to be the best at delivering effective, lasting treatment and providing superb experiences across our continuum of care in all places.
Our treatment programs also have the flexibility and focus to address whatever stage of recovery our patient is in even if the stage of mental health recovery does not match with the stage of addiction recovery. The use of motivational services based on the patient’s stage of readiness will promote engagement, retention and solid long-term recovery outcomes. This sets our program apart from other treatment options.
Started by Foundations Recovery Network (FRN), Heroes in Recovery is a grassroots movement that seeks to remove the social stigma associated with getting addiction treatment and being in recovery. The Heroes movement is about building a recovery community that bands together to share powerful stories of personal transformation in order to inspire others to get help.