Skin deep

Sur­pris­ing but true: just a few short min­utes nour­ish­ing your phys­i­cal self can equal ma­jor ben­e­fits for your mind and spirit. Here’s how to get com­fort­able (really comfy) in your own skin

Women's Health Australia - - BEAUTY & STYLE - Edited by Sally Hun­wick

hHere’s an idea: there is no cor­re­la­tion be­tween the size of our thighs and our self­worth. Ob­vi­ous, right? Well, it’s im­por­tant to keep in mind be­cause some of us can be pretty tough on our bod­ies. But there’s a shift hap­pen­ing – and it’s to­wards body love.

The proof? A new study, pre­sented at an Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion con­ven­tion, found that over the past three decades, women’s feel­ings of body dis­sat­is­fac­tion have fallen more than 28 per cent. Re­searchers say this re­flects a pos­i­tive change around body ac­cep­tance and body di­ver­sity. This change in at­ti­tude has also made its way onto so­cial me­dia, in the form of women proudly post­ing stretch mark selfies rather than air­brushed per­fec­tion. Ac­tresses such as Jen­nifer Lawrence are also openly re­fus­ing to starve them­selves to con­form to Hol­ly­wood’s body ideals, while singers (thank you, Pink) are stand­ing up for a more di­verse range of the body beau­ti­ful.

An­other sign we’re hap­pier with our bods? The word ‘strong’ has be­gun to re­place ‘thin’ as the most ticked in our body vo­cab­u­lary. And, when asked in a re­cent Women’s Health poll, read­ers said they wanted to see words like ‘strong’ and ‘toned’ rather than ‘ripped’.

Many ex­perts be­lieve that lov­ing the skin we’re in be­gins in the bath­room. “Rou­tinely car­ing for our skin sends a mes­sage to our brains that we care about our­selves, which con­trib­utes to greater body ac­cep­tance,” says psy­chol­o­gist Dr Vi­vian Diller, au­thor of Face It. “There is re­search show­ing that peo­ple who pay at­ten­tion to them­selves can im­prove their at­ti­tude and there­fore their health. The health­ier and hap­pier we are, the more con­fi­dent we feel.” Makes sense!

Ready for self-love? Here are four rit­u­als that will ben­e­fit your body, in­side and out.

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