A lack of confidence in your body can really get you down. In fact, half of all 16 to 21-year-old women would consider cosmetic surgery to change their body shape, according to research by Girlguiding UK. But taking pride in your body doesn’t have to involve such drastic measures. Sometimes all you need is a few handy hints…
1. Drop in a few compliments
If you’re being a negative Nigel it’s time to take charge of your emotions and look on the bright side. As American novelist Mark Twain once said, ‘If you can’t get a compliment any other way, pay yourself one.’ And it’s not bad advice. Take a look in the mirror every morning and say a few nice things. It may sound crazy, but it really can work. ‘You will programme your mind with a new positive belief each time you do this,’ says life coach Louise Presley Turner (thegameoflife.co.uk). Louise also recommends saying your own name when you compliment yourself. Love your locks? Say, ‘Hey Jane your hair is beautiful’. It’s time to banish that voice in your head that’s putting you down and take a stand.
2. Get active
Of course, working out can help you shift a few pounds or tone up, but it can also help you feel more confident, too. A study by Opinion Research Corporation found that women who exercise regularly don’t just do it to be healthy, they do it to boost their self-esteem, too. An amazing 86 per cent of the women that were surveyed claimed working up a sweat on a regular basis made them feel more confident and accomplished.
3. Give your body some TLC
Treating yourself to some new beauty products to buff, massage and lather your bod is a sure-fire way to give you that extra bit of pride in your assets. A great tan, smooth skin and fancy nails are a girl’s best friend when it comes to boosting body image. Check out our pick of the best confidence-boosting products over the page.
4. Get a new ‘do
Treat yourself to a new haircut or manicure regularly. Being pampered is a great way to spoil yourself and feel confident. If you want the full works, why not book in for an overnight spa stay? A spray tan, cut and blow dry, and mani/pedi should do the trick.
5. Share the love
If you’re feeling down on your looks, it seems you’re in good company. Dove’s The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited research shows that only four per cent of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. It’s not all bad news, though: 80 per cent of us agree that every woman has something beautiful about them. Think your friend looks awesome in her new dress? Or your sister’s hair looks amazing? Time to shout about it. Telling your nearest and dearest how great they look, will boost their confidence, plus they’re likely to return the compliment. So it’s a win-win situation!
6. Make time for some self love
If you don’t take some time out to appreciate everything you’ve got and take pride in who you are and what you’ve achieved, you’ll find this hard to project in the rest of your life. ‘When we don’t value ourselves we tend to do more for others than ourselves,’ says Louise. ‘When we take time to meet our own needs, our confidence soars. Each week do something special for yourself – take a long bath or book a spa treat.’
7. Visualise yourself gorgeous
Visualisation is a really powerful tool in altering the way you think. ‘ You can use it to change negative thoughts and beliefs and it is practised by some of the world’s most successful people, from athletes to entrepreneurs and pop stars,’ says Louise. ‘Before you leave the house, take a couple of seconds to close your eyes, visualise a special occasion when you felt super-sexy or super-confident – notice what you’re wearing, how your skin glows, how you’re holding your posture. Bring back the feelings you had then. Now imagine stepping into that gorgeous version of yourself. Notice how you feel now. You are this person! Open your eyes and enjoy your gorgeousness!’
8. Go shopping
Okay, if you’re low on body confidence this might be your idea of a nightmare. But you have to wear clothes and you’ll feel much better if you can wear something you feel comfortable in. Before you go, have a think about the sort of outfits that make you feel your best – whether it’s a jumper and jeans, dresses and tights, or leggings and hoodies. Make a list of the items you’d like to get and head out there. If you hate shop changing rooms, buy a few options and take them home to try on. Or, if you really don’t like the whole shopping experience, bulk buy online and try on at home.
9. Play with words
How would you describe yourself? Stuck in negatives? If so, spend some time thinking about positive words you could use to describe yourself. These can be anything from ‘kind’ and ‘pretty’, to ‘funny’ or ‘good friend’. Write these words on two big pieces of paper and pop them somewhere you’ll see them every day – in your wallet, on the fridge or by your mirror – as a reminder of what a great person you are.
10. Step away from the mirror
There are mirrors everywhere we look these days – the bedroom, the bathroom, the office toilet and every high street shop. And research by Dove shows that more than half of women around the world agree that they are their own worst beauty critic. Seeing your reflection so often can bring your appearance into sharper focus and preoccupy you more than is healthy. Try going for a day or two without looking in a mirror more than once a day. You’ll be amazed at the difference it has on your self-esteem.