Body Image: 5 Ways to Reconnect with Your Body
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Body Image: 5 Ways to Reconnect with Your Body

Have you ever felt disconnected from your body? how are you two separate entities? or more like enemies?

In college, I used to have a lot of moments where my body felt weird. my body just didn’t feel like mine, and I walked in a haze. these feelings were especially palpable on nights when I overeat, when I felt like I was out of my body. when I knew I was ingesting tons of calories and junk, but somehow, at the time, I felt so detached that I didn’t care. Now that I think about it, I was too focused on easing the pain.

Reading: How to connect with my body

Other times, I would tense up, feel overwhelmed and want to run, run out of my body. I felt suffocated by what I interpreted as layers and layers of fat.

If you’ve ever felt this way or just wanted to feel more comfortable with yourself, here are several suggestions for reconnecting with your body.

1. do yoga. I enjoy many different types of exercise, but I have found that no other physical activity has connected me to my body like yoga. yoga forces me to slow down, be in the present, treat my body gently, and really feel it (if that makes sense).

I also believe that yoga teaches us to be kinder to our bodies, instead of seeing them as adversaries, punching bags, or unworthy entities to be shaped and manipulated.

here is an article from yoga journal on how yoga can make us feel happy in our own skin and appreciate our bodies better. my favorite part of the article is when a yoga teacher talks about our amazing feet (yes, feet!).

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“My instructor started the class talking about the incredible structure that the foot is, how it roots us to the ground. then he would lead a self-massage of the foot and encourage us to revel in every sensation,” recalls starr. “He asked us to be aware of how it felt to walk down the street, where our weight hit, how it moved, and to recognize the small miracle of walking. all of this allowed me to think of my body not as something that needed to be changed or that had to be punished, but as a vessel that could carry me through anything.”

2. notice your body. Golda Poretsky, owner and operator of body love wellness, shared some great advice in her interview about loving our bodies, and I think it’s also especially helpful for reconnecting with them.

… the next time you shower or put on body lotion, go very slowly. do it at least three times slower than you normally would. pay attention to what you are doing, the way your skin feels when you touch it, the kind of pressure you like, the way your muscles soften or contract in response, the way your skin changes color very slightly. you can do it without words, or just say a word or two, like beautiful or love, or even hum a little. this will feel very different than your usual shower session or lotion application. notice how your body feels as you move throughout the day. often, you will feel sexier, more relaxed, etc. It’s a beautiful way to instill body love directly into your body.

3. communicate with your body. enter the mind of your body. what i mean by that is consider what your body goes through every time you start and end a diet or every time you hit it. One way to talk to your body is by writing a letter. I’m seriously in love with this letter that sally mcgraw from already pretty wrote to her body. an excerpt:

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You have kept me safe from serious illness and injury my entire life. Despite coming from a family that boasts of both bad genetics and a poor lifestyle, you have managed to preserve me from any kind of serious health situation. and despite the spectacular clumsiness, you’ve bounced back from every bump and scrape. in fact, you seem to possess an almost superhuman ability to adapt, to the point where I need to stock and rotate 3 types of deodorant so you don’t become immune in a matter of weeks and make me stink to heaven. you also do everything possible to heal. you’re so determined to keep me safe that it actually produces an overabundance of scar tissue. You have kept me healthy and strong for 31 years.

and I paid you with indifference.

You have reacted with resilience to every diet and exercise regimen that has been imposed on you. From junk food and laziness, to South Beach and routine gym visits, to lean cuisines and frenetic cycling, you have adapted, changed and transformed. you’ve lost weight, gained muscle mass, squashed again and everything else.

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and I have paid you with disgust.

Towards the end, she makes a promise to her body, something you might consider doing too. she writes:

I hope to continue talking with you and I hope to continue learning. and in learning, I hope to accept. and in acceptance, I hope to eventually open a path to love.

4. remember that you are complete. remember that you are not your inner thighs or less than muscular midsection. In an interview about lightweight, eating disorder survivor and advocate Kendra Sebellius talks about the connection and empowerment she felt when she stopped seeing herself as separate parts.

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In treatment, I was forced to look at myself naked in the mirror, which was terrifying at the time. but the more I did it, the more I saw myself as a whole person.

I focus on seeing my body as a complete unit, instead of dividing myself into pieces based on arms, thighs, neck, stomach, face, etc.

5. take a breath. stop what you’re doing and listen. ask yourself: what am I feeling? am I anxious, angry, upset, exhausted? Years ago, what I interpreted as a disgusting body overwhelmed by fat was actually a body and mind overwhelmed by feelings of sadness and frustration.

Also, ask yourself what your body needs right now. when you don’t listen to your body and what it requires is when you feel most disconnected. attending to your body’s needs helps you reconnect with it. when you listen to your body, you recognize it, you give it a voice. Nourishing your body with food when you’re hungry, taking a couple of deep breaths when you feel your body tense are all ways to feel closer to your body and reconnect with it.

Have you felt nervous and tense in your own skin? what helps you feel better? What helps you connect with your body?

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