35 Body-Positive Mantras to Say in Your Mirror Every Morning
As babies, we’re fascinated with our bodies—we can spend hours just checking out our toes. (Wow, there’s so many of them! And they fit in my mouth!) And as children, we confidently attempt handstands and skateboard ollies, and launch into impromptu dance parties, having fun and not thinking much about our appearances.
Yet somehow on the path to being a bill-paying, job-working,relationship-having Official Adult, instead of appreciating how strong our legs are or how hard we can kick a ball, we fret about how our legs look in our shorts and whether they jiggle when we run.
Ladies and gents: It’s time to stop the body hate.
Not only does body-bashing fail as a motivational tool, it may make it harder for you to make positive changes. Take this recent study that looked at army recruits who needed to lose weight. The researchers found that the people with self-compassion slimmed down, even under stressful circumstances (and serving in the military gives plenty of those), while those who had a negative self-image gained weight.
And your self-perception doesn’t just affect your weight. A 2015 study found that people who had higher self-esteem had less depression, better relationships, and more job satisfaction. Oh yeah: And they lived longer too.
So bring on the body love, and put it into practice when you look in the mirror. We asked 35 health and wellness professionals to share their favorite body-positive mantra. Go ahead and steal their words of wisdom for your own inspiration!
“The concept of perfection changes witheach generation. As soon as you think you’re anywhere close, society’s ideals have changed, and you have to start over. Just do your best; that is what’s right for you.” — Cassi Schmigotzki, trainer, coach, author ofThe Long and Winding Road to Wellness
Happiness has very little to do with what you look like and everything to do with who you are. “I’m here to encourage people of every size, shape, age, experience level, and ability to grab life by the curves—and never let go!” — Anna Guest-Jelley, founder and CEO ofCurvy Yoga This one is for the ladies: You have our official permission to rock whatever swimwear you like! Big or small, pasty or tan, cellulite or freckled: Bare it with pride because we believe beaches are for fun, not body funks. “I love to tell my clients the trick to how to have a bikini body! Step 1: Put a bikini on your body. That’s it.” — Kimberly O’Connor, marriage and family therapist, owner Hop Brook Counseling Center
Don’t let your mind bully your body.
You’d never bully others, and yet the things you say to yourself are often filled with cruel vitriol. Stopping the negative self-chatter is the first step in learning to appreciate who you really are. “Your mind should listen to your body, not the other way around.” — June Tomaso Wood, clinical social worker, psychotherapist, creator of the Calm Down Now appBeing kind to others can change a life, but being kind to ourselves allows us to change the world. “It’s helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that’s sitting right here right now, with its aches and pleasures, is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.” — Pema Chodron, Buddhist teacher, author, nunA lot of people get this backward. They think if they lose five pounds or win a race, then they will be happy. But attitude is everything. Practice thinking positively about yourself, and then you will naturally start making positive changes. “If you think you can, you can achieve anything!” — Angelena Marie, personal trainer, author of Happy, Healthy & Balanced
People sometimes assume that beautiful people must be happy when in reality being happy lets your true beauty shine through. “Happiness is not necessarily getting everything you want. It’s enjoying the little things in life—whether that’s starting to eat healthy or just waking up a little earlier to enjoy more of your day.” —Jane Ko, editor of A Taste of Koko
So why is it we often treat ourselves as if we are? From self-help books to diets to plastic surgery, we often talk about how to fix ourselves when really we should becelebrating everything that is right about us. — Geneen Roth, motivational speaker, author of Women, Food, and God Too often we see exercise as a punishmentfor eating too much or indulging in too many sweets. But this negativity doesn’t motivate. Instead, focus on all the ways moving your body helps you love it more: A soaring mood, incredible strength, or dazzling speed are far more inspiring. — Katie Goulet, founder of Endeavor Fitness “I hear the word ‘should’ a lot when working with clients. As in, ‘I should be thinner’ or ‘I should go to law school.’ But whose ‘should’ is that? Whose ruler are you measuring yourself with? Our culture’s? Your parents’? Your employer’s? If you do it, will it lead you toward your goals or make you unhappy or resentful? In the end, you need to decide if it is something you want to do versus something you do to make others happy.” — Megan Bearce, marriage and family therapist “I particularly like this mantra when working with clients because it reminds them that they can stay strong. They do not have to give into the pressures they are feeling to be perfect or to listen to the body-shaming messages out there in the media. They are already beautiful and enough just as they are right now. Our bodies are meant to be celebrated!” — Vanessa Pawlowski, psychologist “In 20 years you will look back and think, ‘Wow, I looked good!’ So why not just skip all the garbage and appreciate how good you look now?” — Alexandra Williams, exercise specialist and speaker, co-founder of Fun and FitRun, jump, play, work, paint masterpieces, or write the next great novel: The truth is our bodies were made to do, not just be. So stop thinking of yourself in a cosmetic way and embrace all the things your body is that let you express who you are! Ariane Machin works with professional athletes, people whose bodies are at their peak, and yet she still sees a lot of body dissatisfaction. “I love this mantra because it’s a reminder that we are all striving for progress, not perfection!” — Ariane Machin, clinical and sport psychologist“I encourage my clients to look in the mirror while they say this several times a day. Many have said that the first few times they’ve said it in front of a mirror, it was very difficult and in fact they cry. It’s gets easier, though, and most soon begin to experience more confidence and self-love.” — Jim Kellner, hypnotherapist, host of Exploring AwesomeJust because you’re not a Victoria’s Secret Angel or a fitness magazine cover model doesn’t mean you’re not beautiful or handsome. Each of us has our own unique features that make us attractive. “To me this means doing what’s right for you as an individual, not letting cultural pressures to be sexy and sexual influence your behavior or make you feel bad about how you look.” — Susan Edelman, psychiatrist, author of Be Your Own Brand of Sexy
You were made to move! Millions of years of evolution did not design us to sit like lumps in front of a computer for 12 hours a day. We need to respect that our bodies are capable of doing so much more than we give them credit for. You can do this; you were born to do this. “This is my favorite one to say to clients! I just love how our bodies were created for movement.” — Lindsay Wright, personal trainer, owner of MoveMore Fitness“Often the teens I work with scroll throughFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram and see all the ‘perfect’ images of celebs and their friends. This can have a devastating impact on self-esteem. Heck, I’m an adult professional, and I sometimes get down when I see all the unrealistic retouched and Photoshopped images. So I have to remind them, and myself, that no one posts photographs of themselves looking poorly… There’s no point in comparing your worst to someone else’s best!” — Kimberly O’Connor, marriage and family therapist, owner Hop Brook Counseling CenterWhether you look in the mirror with fear or glee, it’s important to remember that we choose what we see. “This reminds me that I’m living and doing and eating the way I want to be long-term, and that’s the how I define success, instead of a number on a scale or clothing size.” — Roni Noone, nutrition expert, co-author of What You Can, When You CanNo matter what happens, if you can keep the bigger picture in mind, it will help you put your successes and failures into perspective. “I always repeat this mantra when I am hitting the wall, mentally or physically. I have had some struggles with my health over the past few years, including needing four surgeries. If Darwin were to look strictly at my genetic makeup and my family tree, he would probably predict that I am already dead. I am, by all medical accounts, a Darwinian fail. However, I believe that I am more than just biology. My body is also defined by my adaptability, perseverance, and strength. So while I am frustrated with my body and not always where I want to be, I have faith that I will get there.” — Krysten Bishop, breast cancer and heart disease survivor, health and fitness motivational speakerLife is, ultimately, what we make it. But it can be easy to forget that we can choose how we feel about ourselves and our lives. “I breathein peace and exhale peace. I breathe in joy and exhale joy. In the craziness of life, this mantra helps to keep me focused on my highest intention: choosing to live the way I want to.” — Audrey Hope, motivational speaker, relationship counselorStop saying “I’ll like myself when… ” and realize that you can love an imperfect person—even yourself. “I like to point out to my clients that they don’t necessarily have to like certain parts of their bodies in order to accept them. Such a perspective helps a lot of people let go and find self-acceptanceand contentment. I tell them that God loves and accepts them unconditionally the way they are right now, and therefore they can love and accept themselves unconditionally the way they are right now.” — Tres Adames, pastoral counselor