9 Ways To Reduce The Stigma Of Mental Illness

It does not matter if you have or do not have a mental disorder, stigma affects us all!  Mental health is a hot topic right now, and it has never been more important to work as a community to reduce stigma.  It is time we open up the mental health conversation on our terms this time!  Here are 9 ways to reduce stigma…

1.  Knowledge is power.

Read up about mental health.  The information is easy to find.   Ask yourself, What is a mental illness?  What types of mental illness are there?  What are the symptoms? Why is it referred to as a “mental illness?”   

2.  Be active on online media platforms.

On Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook post positive articles, blogs, quotes, and/or images that relate to mental health.  Stay away from going on a wild political rant.  This can be a major turn off.  You want to encourage the conversation, not diminish it.

3.  Get people involved.

Bring your friends along with you to events or volunteer opportunities.  It gives a different image of mental health than what they may have originally thought.

4.  Develop your own opinion.

You do not want to sound “memorized” when talking about mental health to other people.  Take the information you have gathered, and form your own personal opinion.  What ideas will you share with the public?

5.  Be confident, cool & collected.

It is nerve-wrecking to talk to people about mental health.  This should not stop you from being vocal.  You do not have to be aggressive.  Be calm and collected when expressing your views to others.

6.  Get people talking.

Casually introduce the topic of mental health in a social conversation with friends or family.  Hey, did you know that Demi Lovato is diagnosed with Bipolar II?   Get the conversation rolling and get people talking.  You might be surprised how interested people are by the topic.

7.  Focus on the positive.

There are many successful, and incredibly gifted people with mental disorders in society.  However, this is not what is heard or seen in the media.  Discuss mental health with a positive attitude.  People are more willing to listen, and engage in the conversation.

8.  Reveal the parts of you that contradict stigma.

It is important to reveal things about yourself, or someone else, that conflict with what “stigma says.”  Mental illness does not define you, or anyone else.  You want people to embrace your character before acknowledging your disorder.  This encourages people to question what they hear in the media about mental health.

9.  Share your story, only if you are comfortable with it.

This is not for everyone.  It is not easy to be open about mental illness, and due to the stigma, there are consequences.  Your story established a personal connection with readers, and shows the impact of stigma and labels.  If you want to share your story, I will be creating a page in the following weeks on my blog, “Your Story.”  The guidelines will be listed, and I would love to help you on your journey to sharing your story.

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14 Things Deeply Emotional Women Are Guilty Of 

The moment he shook my hand I knew I was done.  For the first time in a long time I was me again. I felt everything so deeply.-Halfway2hannah

I have always thought of myself as thick-skinned, but then I read back through my journal and notice statements like the one above.  A reflection after a brief meeting with someone years ago, who ended up being far from Romeo.  Someone once said, It is both a blessing and a curse to feel everything so deeply.  Damnit they were right!  You admire people who think more logically than emotionally, and it seems that finding a medium is difficult.  Luckily you are not the only ‘feeler’ out there.  Here are 14 things every girl who feels emotions so deeply is guilty of…

1.  You are still disappointed in the way Titanic ended.

You still can’t get over it! You are still mad at Rose, Kate Winslet, for not letting Jack on the mirror at the end of the movie.  Let’s be real…there was enough room.

2.  You are apprehensive about falling in love.

You know the minute you hit ‘connect’ with someone you are emotionally, and potentially physically screwed!  If feelings are not reciprocated, the hurt begins to surface!  Try to find the lesson in your heartbreaks to prevent making the same mistakes in the future.

 3.  You are an unpaid, unlicensed therapist.

You are the first one who gets the call after your friends break-up!  Although, you are not getting paid, it is rewarding.  Just make sure you make time to open up, and get your vent sessions in too!

4.  You feel like you were meant to live 100 years ago.

It seems like in the 1950’s and centuries before, romance was more of a ‘thing.’  You are enthralled by the love stories of your parents, grandparents or those of an older generation.  The idea of writing a love letter turns you on more than Ryan Gosling covered in chocolate.

5.  You are the one who gives too much in a relationship.

You can overdue it when it comes to giving to others.  Do not give to receive, but weigh it out.  No relationship is 50/50, but when it becomes 80/20 it is time you reconsider that relationship.

6.  You try to compensate for your sadness with extreme optimism.

Even on your rough days, you feel like you cannot let that smile down!  You feel like you have to compensate for feeling down in the dumps.  Accept this, and understand that you are allowed to have your days just like everyone else.

7.  You analyze everything about a person, place or thing.

You hear a song and talk about the emotion behind it.  You see a movie and discuss the depth of each character, while your friends are thinking about how hot Leonardo DiCaprio looked in a suit.  It is good to encourage people around you to look deeper beyond the surface of things.

8.  You hesitate when it comes to trusting people.

You know the consequences of being vulnerable with others.  Your wall is high because people have taken advantage of your emotions in the past.  Be patient.  Trust is not just given, it needs to be earned!

9.  You refuse to settle for an ‘ordinary’ romance.

The high’s and low’s of a relationship are difficult, but it makes you feel alive!  Meeting a guy and being content is not good enough.  This can be tricky.  I believe in giving someone a chance, even if it is not love at first sight. Create your own love story.  Do not base it off what you see, but what you feel.

10.  You want EVERYONE to be happy.

From your mom to your dry cleaning guy, you simply want everyone to be happy!  This is a great quality to have, but constantly worrying about family and friends can be more exhausting for you than them.  In some situations, it is better to be a supporter, rather than trying to be a fixer.

11.  You don’t just read a book or hear a song, you are INVOLVED.

When it comes to music or books, you are not on the sideline, but in the game.  I refuse to read the last chapter of some books, because it means the end of something great.  You have the ability to feel art, not just observe it.

12.  You reflect on a situation & think “Whoops, why did I do that?”

The consistent pushing away and pulling in increases your emotional behavior.  You send relentless apology texts to an undeserving guy because you “hurt” his feelings.  Do not live with regrets, everything happens for a reason, even our emotional reactions.

13.  You listened to “Hello” by Adele & watched The Notebook 1,000 times!

No shame!  You get chills when you hear the song, and are drenched in tears when you see the movie…still.  Except now you watch and listen alone, because your friends have moved on and you could not be happier about it!

 14.  You are kind and mean well.

You think a little deeper, and are emotionally connected to everything.  It can be a challenge, but the bottom line is that you have a kind heart.  You are capable of opening up other peoples eyes to looking beyond the surface of life.  As long as you balance out your inner Shakespeare, feeling everything so deeply is a beautiful part of you!

6 Stereotypes That Hurt People With Mental Illness

Our ways of thinking may be different, our minds crafted differently, but who is to deem one mind more corrupt than the other.-Halfway2hannah

When a violent crime occurs, it is assumed that the perpetrator must have been mentally ill.  Has someone with diabetes ever killed someone?  Yes, but we do not hear of this in the media.  “His blood sugar was low which caused him/her to carry out the mass shooting…”   Has a young African-American male shot someone?  Yes.  Does that mean that all young African-American males are murderers?  No!  It is natural that we want to blame “others” for negative behaviors, because it refrains us from looking in the mirror and realizing that we are all capable of corruption.  Stigma is a barrier that keeps people with a mental illness from progressing in society.  These are 6 stereotypes that influence the publics negative perception of mental illness…

1.  People with mental illness are violent.

We have all seen the TV show that depicts a mass shooting or murder by an individual who is eventually diagnosed with a mental illness dun dun dun!  The media connects mental illness to criminal behavior in the news, on television and in movies.  If violent behavior is directly linked to mental illness, then why doesn’t the media portray individuals in ISIS as mentally ill?  I assume it doesn’t follow the media’s set agenda.  Framing people with mental illness as violent individuals is unfair, inconsistent and untrue.

Two things you should know…

  • Research suggests that mentally ill people are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violence.
  • Elbogen & Johnson (2009) found in their research that, “mental illness does not predict violent behavior.

2.  People with mental illness are incapable of having and/or maintaining jobs.

There are definitely people with mental illness who struggle to maintain jobs, but can we not say the same thing for many people struggling with any type of illness?  This stereotype is unfair to the millions of people, with a mental illness, who work hard to maintain successful careers.

3.  People with mental illness are dark and gloomy.

People with mental illness are pictured as sad and the “Debbie Downers” of the group.  The stigma of mental illness refrains people from being open about it.  This means that some of your most optimistic friends may struggle with a mental illness, and you are just unaware of it. When I revealed my diagnosis of BP2 to friends and family, they were shocked!  “But you are so optimistic” and “You are always smiling.”  It is the media’s portrayal of the ‘mentally ill’ as dark people that has you confused.

4.  People with mental illness do not take care of themselves.

I will never forget when a fellow peer in college wrote a research report about mental illness, and asked if I could be a part of it.  She emailed me her final paper, and as I began to read, I saw this sentence, “When I found out she had a mental illness, I could not believe it, because she wears make-up and dresses really cute.”  Um…thanks I guess?  This is a common misperception, that people with a mental illness wear all black, sweatpants and do not brush their hair or teeth on a daily basis.  Bad hygiene is not an indicator of someone who has a mental illness.

5.  People with mental illness are unpredictable.

When people hear you have a mental illness, I think an image jets across their minds of you going from 0-100 real quick!  Most people are unpredictable in stressful situations that cause them to act differently than others expect.  However, the response from a person with mental illness is not viewed as a natural reaction to a stressful situation, but the reaction of a “sick” individual.

6.  People with mental illness cannot be trusted.

People with mental illness have many negative labels, and this leads to people not trusting them.  Do you know someone, without a mental illness, who has stolen, cheated or lied?  I’am assuming the answer is Yes.  To deem all people with a mental illness as untrustworthy is wrong.  If your instinct tells you someone cannot be trusted then go with it, rather than basing your decision on their condition not their character.

 

Reduce the Stigma of Mental Illness.

 

7 Reasons Why You Should Not Feel Ashamed About Mental Illness

It is ten minutes before I have to get up in front of a room full of people, and talk about my diagnosis of Bipolar II for the first time.  I run into the bathroom, and vomit.  I get up, wipe my face, reapply my lipstick and look in the mirror.  I ask myself, “Why the hell are you doing this Hannah?  You can live a good life without telling anyone.”  Then I thought,”Because you are not ashamed anymore…”   

This was the scene three years ago when I spoke about my diagnosis of Bipolar II for the first time at a mental health conference.  People with mental illness, situational or long-term, are scared more of just uttering the sentence, “I have a mental illness,” then they are of skydiving.  I have witnessed people wither away in their marriage, friendships and in daily life, due to this heavy weight on their shoulders and burning secret inside.  We should not be ashamed to talk about mental illness, and these are 7 reasons why…

 1.  …because I am not alone.

One in four adults−approximately 61.5 million Americans−experiences mental illness in a given year.-NAMI

It is evident that we are not alone in this fight.  We should not be ashamed to admit something that is so present in society.  Just because others choose to ignore it, does not mean that you are obligated to do so. The stigma isolates people with mental illness, and takes away the opportunity to truly understand your diagnosis.

 2.  …because I am strengthened by struggle.

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle”-Napoleon Hill

The effort it takes to smile, when you are crumbling inside is admirable, not shameful or embarassing.  When we lift our heads from the ground, and walk with hope, our struggle becomes our strength.  The bad experiences or hopeless moments in your past or present, are the building blocks for your future.

3.  …because mental illness is real despite what you may think.

“The worst thing you can do to a person with an invisible illness is make them feel like they need to prove how sick they are”-Healthy Place  

This game of tug of war between science and society causes people with mental illness to  doubt themselves.  If you can feel it, it is real.  I have Bipolar II disorder, and it is very real. I can control it, but I cannot make it go away despite what society may think.  People do not dictate the way I feel or what I know to be true.  Now it is time You get over it!

4.  …because emotions and pain make the best art.

“It is a gift and a curse…you get the pain much worse than anybody else, but you see a sunrise much more beautiful”-British Comedian Spike Milligan

We are ashamed, because we are constantly hearing how awful mental illness is.  Although the struggle is unbearable at times, there is a gift within these deeply penetrating emotions.  Awareness allows you to be in control, and control allows you to access your imagination in a positive way.  Making art out of emotions or thinking outside of the box is not something to be ashamed of, but embraced and encouraged.

 

5.  …because I am part of a positive movement.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”-Dr. Martin Luther King

The minute you utter those words, “I have a mental illness and I am not ashamed,” you are part of a movement.  To give a voice to those who have been silenced by stigma is powerful, and an accomplishment to be proud of.  The people who should be ashamed, are those who refuse to lend a helping hand, yet are eager to point the finger at others to blame for society’s problems.

6.  …because my story is worth more than your opinion.

“Your life has a purpose.  Your story is important.  Your dreams count.  Your voice matters.  You were born to make an impact.”-C.S. Lewis

How many people can say, that by sacrificing their story they helped others survive?  Not many!  We can all form an opinion, but not all are brave enough to voice it.  Sacrificing and sharing your story  to help others takes an incredible amount of strength and courage.

7.  …because I have the right to be honest and accepted for who I am, not for who you want me to be.

“Find out who you are and be that person.  That’s what your soul was put on this Earth to be.  Find that truth, live that truth and everything else will come.”-Ellen DeGeneres

You have the right to be honest about who you are, what you have and what you do.   Mental illness does not define you, and it is nothing to be ashamed of.

 

 

I am not ashamed of my biology.  I am ashamed of society and stigma.-H2H

 

64 Mental Health Quotes

64 Mental Health Quotes that help you understand the struggle, the stigma and the hope for a better future!  Never give up!

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If you are in need of support, please go to the Halfway2hannah Support Page!

You are not alone.

9 Things Your Friend With Depression Wants You To Know

Close friends are the people who we create unforgettable memories with, and who know us better than we know ourselves.  So what do you do when your friend suddenly disappears from your life?  You reach out but receive no answer.  As someone diagnosed with Bipolar II, trying to help my friends understand mental illness has always been a challenge.  The behaviors of someone struggling with mental illness are hard to interpret by others, especially by our close friends

These are 9 things your friend with depression wants you to know.

1.  Depression is…

It is important you know that depression is a common, but very serious mood disorder that affects how you think, feel and behave.  It can be a reaction to a tragic life occurrence or as a clinically diagnosed condition.  It makes me feel helpless and worthless at times.

2.  Just by being present you are helping me

How do you help me?  Being present and telling me the juicy details of your weekend help me to step outside of my own internal pain.  Mental illness is not something that can be ‘fixed,’ and it is not your responsibility to erase the pain.  You do not have to walk on eggshells, just be the friend you have always been!

 3.  I do not mean to ignore you

I am not being distant based on something you said or did.  If you have sent a text or called, and received no answer, I apologize.  Our friendship will always remain separate from these moments of despair.  I cannot be the friend I want to be, so I choose to completely withdraw and isolate myself.

4.  It is difficult to be social right now

I feel empty, and socializing takes more energy than running a marathon.   You cannot force the sun to come out on a rainy day.  I know you are trying, but you cannot force this internal pain out of me.  It is almost as if a cloud is inside my brain.  I am not my usual self, and I cannot pretend to be her at the moment.

5.  There is no explanation for the way I feel

There is no equation or formula to get an answer of why I am feeling this way.  It is not a “blue mood,” but a chemical imbalance that causes me to fall into severe emotional states for periods of time.  It is out my control, which makes it hard to explain.

6.  It is important you understand stigma

Stigma is a mark of disgrace associated with a person.  It has a major impact on my life, as well as the life of others.  It is important you understand my sensitivity when it comes to negative comments made by the media, friends and family pertaining to mental illness.  Although you may not fully understand, your support makes me feel like I am not alone in this fight.

7.  Please be patient

There is no quick fix or secret potion that will suddenly make this better.  In these times, patience is key!  I would love to snap my fingers and be better right now, but I cannot.  As much effort as I put into healing, it will take some time.

8.  I am not doing this on purpose

It is difficult to understand mental illness, and even harder to explain.  This is not a cry for help, but a disease that consumes my mind.  I am not trying to get attention.  Mental illness affects many people, and I happen to be one of them.

9.  I love you & our friendship will always remain important

I cannot give you a date or time of when I will be myself again.  It could be today, tomorrow or months from now.  In that time, when I’am distant and withdrawn, know my love and support for you always remains.  When the sun shows its face from behind the clouds, look for me dancing in the aftermath of the storm.

 

-Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.-NAMI

-Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—10 million, or 4.2%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.-NAMI

If you have a friend who is need of support please go to the Halfway2hannah Resource Page and Support Page!  You are not alone.

 

 

 

17 Things You Should Know About Dating A Girl With Mental Illness

“She is delightfully chaotic; a beautiful mess.  Loving her is a splendid adventure.”-Steve Maraboli

Dating is hard enough with or without a chemical imbalance.  A lot of people are heavily influenced by stigma, and get it twisted when it comes to building a romantic relationship with a girl who has a mental illness.  As someone diagnosed with Bipolar II, it is difficult to be vulnerable in love.  I believe this is what she wants you to understand about her.  Here are 17 things you should know about dating a girl with mental illness.

1.  It is not expected of you to completely understand mental illness

She does not expect you to be a book of knowledge about mental illness or a licensed psychologist.  Do not feel overwhelmed or frustrated because you cannot comprehend your romantic partners pain.  Mental illness is complex, and takes time to fully grasp.

2.  Mental illness does not define her

People with mental illness are professionals, educated, well traveled, and have close relationships.  Do not be fooled by stigma!  A person’s character and accomplishments should be recognized before their condition.

3.  Listening is more important than fixing

Mental illness cannot be fixed. It is not a broken table or flat tire.  She does not expect you to know how to ‘fix’ her problem.  It is more important to have someone listen and be present, than constantly trying to give advice.  Professionals are obligated to give advice, not you.

4.  Do not blame all you relationship problems on her mental illness

Mental illness causes emotional behavior, however, not every mood change or situation should be blamed on it.  It is important to eliminate mental illness from the conversation, and reflect on your own actions, as well as your partners.

5.  She is insecure about her situation or diagnosis

Duh!  Remember that the stigma of mental illness leads to feelings of nervousness, guilt and shame in any type of relationship, especially a romantic one.  When it comes to sharing information, she fears being judged by others.  Keep this in mind when trying to get to know her on a deeper level!

6.  She is not pushing you away on purpose

This is a problem I am continuously working on!  People with mental illness can say hurtful things or act like they don’t care, however, it is meant to protect you rather than to hurt you.  Speaking from personal experience, it is difficult to trust others, and let people in to that part of my life.  This fear causes me to reject my feelings, and push him away.  This does not mean these actions should be condoned, and should be confronted at an appropriate time. An apology will follow shortly after, and if not she may just be a bitch!

7.  She does not want you to suffer the consequences of her problem

Be honest about your feelings with her.  Do not conceal your personal problems and feelings, due to the fear that she will get upset.  Relationships are based off of reciprocity.

8.  Her way of thinking is different

When you look at a painting of a lake, you may see water and dirt; when she looks at a painting she may see emotions and depth.  Accept and embrace this creative way of thinking.  Do not make her feel ‘crazy.’

9.  Mental illness is a disease, and should be treated as such

If you believe mental illness is not ‘real,’ then stop reading this blog post and cancel your next date.  Mental illness is a real disease, and should be treated like any other illness.  It is true some people may experience situational depression, however, many people are in it for the long run.   In order for a romantic relationship to work, you have to put your personal bias about mental health to the side and educate yourself.

10.  She can be overly sexual or not sexual at all

People with mental illness can be overly sexual at times, or not sexual at all.  It may be due to medication or a specific situation.  Do not be offended or insecure!  Be patient and it will ‘cum’ at its own time.

11.  Sometimes she ignores her internal pain

Contrary to what people believe, people with mental illness are usually the ones helping others with their problems.  People with mental illness may try to cover up their internal pain by exerting themselves on the behalf of others.  Just remember, do not always be deceived by her smile.

12.  She wants to tell others about her situation

The stigma of mental illness keeps people to be very quiet about the topic.  This means she wants to explain her diagnosis to friends and family at her own time.  It is a topic that has to be dealt with very gently.  Let me tell you, I immediately know when I walk into a room if it has been said already.  The half smile, wide eyed, and stiff posture makes it obvious.

13.  Like any relationship, there will be challenges

A major part of a romantic relationship is overcoming obstacles.  Do not freak the moment difficulty arises in your relationship.  Two chemically balanced individuals with no problems with depression, or any type of disease, still face challenges in their relationship.  Always remember to separate mental illness from reality.  Overcoming these challenges will only make your romantic relationship stronger.

14.  It is not doomed from the start because she has a mental illness

Do not go into the relationship with the constant thought that it is going to fail.  Everyone, with or without a mental illness, has issues to deal with.  She can add a unique element to your life.  It is difficult, and takes a strong person to deal, but believe that it is worth it!

15.  Support is the best way to help her, NOT trying to save her

I have faced this issue in many relationships.  My potential partner finds out about my diagnosis & BAM he rips open his shirt with a big ‘S’ on his chest.  A great way to unravel your romantic partner is by educating yourself about mental illness, and getting involved in the conversation.  You are accompanying her on this journey.  Take time to read up on mental health or volunteer at an event pertaining to it.  You might learn something, and be one step closer to getting in her pants;)

16.  Sometimes she will withdraw or be distant

There is no doubt that at certain points she is going to be mentally distant from you.  This has nothing to do with her love for you.  It means one of two things-she do not want to bother you with her problems or she needs a moment to reflect.  If it continues, there is the option that she is just not that into it anymore…sorry!

17.    It is not all negative

The stigma of mental illness causes people to assume that the relationship will have more negatives than positives .  This is not true!  People with mental illness can contribute more positives to your life than negatives.  They are capable of adding color to your life.  There will be challenges, and difficult moments, however, I believe that you have to take the good with the bad, especially when it comes to love.

 

Spread Color.  Stop Stigma.

If you are in need of support, please go to my ‘Support Page’.  You are not alone. 

Love, Hannah

 

 

 

 

 

8 Strategies To Improve Your Body Image

I look fat in this”  “I would die for her body” “He thinks I am fat” “I have no boobs” “I am on this new fad diet…again” “I look like a boy.”

Have you ever said statements like this?  I know I have.  Instead of spending time trying to accept our body, we waste time comparing ourselves to others, beating up our bodies, starving ourselves and place obtaining the ‘perfect body’ at the top of our priority list.  This is a tragedy in modern day society.  In the moments when we are suppose to be celebrating life such as, your child’s birthday, your graduation, your wedding day, I mean damn even at your funeral, the most important thing on the agenda is ‘looking good.’  Skinny, but not too skinny.  Boobs, but not too big.  Round medium sized ass, but no cellulite.  Perfect skin, but no stretch marks.  Toned, but not too toned.  It sounds like the children’s book “Goldie Locks,” not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

As someone who struggled with body image, and an eating disorder, majority of my life, I understand this conflict.  I missed out on proms, high school dances, and immature movie dates with guys all due to a lack of acceptance of my body.  One day I told myself that there was no point.  No matter how skinny or overweight I would be, people would find some way to discourage me.  So I said, ‘Fuck it! I am going to be healthy, but enjoy my life!”

There is no genuine definition or equation to obtaining ‘beauty.’  Do not waste one more minute.  The sexiest thing a woman can be is confident.

Here are a personal strategies to help in developing a positive body image.

1. Self-talk.

Communication is not only important between two people, but also with yourself.  Every morning write a note to yourself, put it on the mirror, and say it aloud or in your head while you brush your teeth.

“I love myself just the way I am”

“I believe in myself”

Go to this link, 14 Mantras To Help Build Positive Self-Talk…, to get some extra help in self-talk.

2. Switch Up Role Models.

If majority of the figures you follow on Instagram or Facebook are accounts that make you feel even more inadequate, hit the ‘unfollow’ button for now. Follow accounts who encourage positive body image.

Here are some of the accounts I follow promoting positive body image on Instagram: @positivebodyimage, @end_body_shame, @mybodynoshame, @bodyposipanda

This gallery  of images portrays female figures, from Greek Mythological Goddesses to Amy Schumer, who give a realistic and positive outlook on the female body.

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3. Exercise your mind and body.

Try out a class like yoga or zumba, workouts that are centered on embracing your body, not about burning as many calories in a short amount of time.  Eat something healthy everyday, get creative and switch it up.

The two links listed below are easy at home exercises that help strengthen mind and body.

Yoga For Complete Beginners

The No-Equipment Workout You Can Do at Home

 

4. Reach Out.

Talk to friends & family about your body image issues.  Ask them if they have insecurities.  It is surprising to hear some of the people you admire have insecurities as well, and makes you realize you are not alone.

5. Meditate to Appreciate.

Body is just as important as mind.  On days I am feeling insecure, I sit and take ten minutes to reevaluate my insecurities.

This is a great video I listen to, called Guided Mediation: Positive Body Image.

 

6. Role Play.

This is not dressing up like a naughty officer!  Play the role of someone helping a young teenager with body issues similar to yours.  Write a “pretend letter” to them discussing  your struggle with body, and ways to overcome this challenge.  This is a letter to the “insecure you,” and acknowledges your insecurities.  It is a creative way to take an outside perspective on your personal feelings.

Use this alternative link, 20 Ways to Love Your Body, to write some helpful tips in your letter.

7. I love myself, because I am…I love my (blank) because he/she is…

Grab a pen and paper.  Write down, “I love myself because I am…” List alteast 5 things you love about yourself and 2 personal accomplishments.

       …I am positive, kind, strong, intelligent and creative.  I have graduated from college and I have a good job.

Then write “I love my (family member, close friend and/or peer) because he/she is…”  Write a list of what you love about them.

Now look at the list, and ask yourself:

Do these your personal positive character traits have to do with your body?  

Would you have been able to accomplish these things without having the perfect body?

Would you not admire this family member or friend if they were too skinny or overweight?  

This gives you an outside perspective about how people view you, and how you view others, separate from body.

8. Set a Goal & Stick to It.

Pick out an outfit you have been dying to wear, but have felt self-conscious in.  Bring the outfit, and only one, to a friends house where you get dressed before you go out.  This way you are forced to wear the outfit.  As time goes on, your insecurities will slowly fade.

I had an obsession with my arms and refused to wear anything that showed them.  Recently, I bought a few sleeveless shirts, and took majority of my other shirts to my moms house.  I was forced to wear a sleeveless shirt the next day.  In the beginning I was nervous, and then I realized no one was looking, or pointing at me.  I looked good…I looked damn good!  It is something that has to be practiced in order to be mastered.

End note:

 I know that feeling, when you look in your reflection, and criticize every part of your body.  The thing is, we are women, are bodies are a work of art, and deserve to be loved.  Do not waste anymore time, be the Goddess you were destined to be.