Tips for a Better Body Image
“Body image” is a concept that is sometimes hard to digest for dancers. It refers to how you see yourself, in a literal sense – like when you’re looking at yourself in the mirror – but also in your mind – the way you think you look. As dancers, we spend a lot of time looking at our bodies pretty closely as we work towards perfecting our craft, but sometimes, looking too close too often makes it easier for us to point out the flaws rather than to acknowledge our beauty and strengths. We tend to become far too critical of ourselves, which damages the way we think of ourselves.
Body Image Makeover
There are two kinds of body image: positive and negative. When you have a positive body image, you feel comfortable and content in your own skin, but when your body image is negative, you feel uncomfortable and unhappy with your body. If you’re like the average person, your body image lies somewhere in between the two types and it varies depending on the circumstances. When you catch yourself often having negative thoughts and feelings towards your own body, it is quite possible your body image is not in good shape. The tricky thing about negative body image is that it’s not like a switch that you can turn on and off whenever you’re tired of it. It takes some work to heal from that and promote a better, healthier body image.
These are a few “exercises” you can do to help yourself right those wrongs in your mind:
Restrain those negative thoughts
Our mind dictates what we think about ourselves, but when we become aware of the negative thoughts that come over us, we have the power to swap them out for good ones. The first step is to pay attention. Stop those unwanted, destructive thoughts and replace them with positive affirmations. These are proven to have an encouraging effect.
Let the mirror be your friend, not your enemy
Use the image you see in the mirror for a productive purpose in your dance training – you know, to correct poses and technique. However, if you’re unable to do so, stop looking in the mirror right away. Shift your focus and whatever you do, remember it’s not accurate; it’s just a reflection and it should not define your body or you.
Compare yourself to your own self, never mind others
Just like the mirror, if comparing yourself to others is used as a productive tool that will help you improve your dancing, there’s no harm in that. Otherwise, stop doing it. Everyone has their own weaknesses. It’s always better to compete with yourself. Realize how far you’ve come when compared to a younger version of yourself. Define goals and action plans so that you can keep growing.
If there’s one person you can’t run away from, it’s yourself. Take time to cultivate a positive relationship with your body. Love yourself and treat yourself right.