Body image is complicated. Rarely is there anyone over age 4 or so who loves her body. That is so sad; none of us is born hating our body. And even through early stages of life, we revel in our fingers and toes. And in our body as a whole. Chubby babies are considered “so adorable”. But all this changes around pre-adolescence and certainly adolescence.
So, how realistic is it to think body image quotes and sayings could help you fall in love — or at least like — with your body?
You tell me. Check in with yourself and let a couple of words come to the surface that describe RIGHT NOW how you feel in your body. No judgment, like good or bad.
Read through the quotes.
Reflect on which words come to mind now to describe how you feel a about your body.
Body image quotes and sayings that speak to you can be just what you need to hear, when you need to hear it.
Here are more body image quotes and sayings:
“it was when I stopped searching for home within others and lifted the foundations of home within myself I found there were no roots more intimate than those between a mind and body that have decided to be whole.”
― Rupi Kaur
I am so much more than my appearance.
My body is perfectly imperfect.
I am unique, the only one on earth with this soul or body.
My body carries me.
I am tired of hating my body and myself.
My body is something to honor, to care for, and not take for granted.
i like the way the stretch marks
on our thighs look human
and that we’re so soft yet
rough and jungle wild
when we need to be
i love that about us
how capable we are of feeling
how unafraid we are of breaking
and tend to our wounds with grace
It is easy to love the nice things about ourselves. But true self love is embracing the difficult parts that live in all of us.
When you find body image quotes or sayings that speak to you, post them on your bedroom mirror. Use them as your screen saver. Repeat throughout the day.
Your body hears everything you think.
If you’re a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), you’ve probably had the experience of sensing something was about to happen before it did. Or of feeling people’s energy or mood. Maybe even when they themselves were unaware of their own emotions. It’s no surprise people have wondered if you, a Highly Sensitive Person, are psychic.
Whether you know about or utilize your sixth sense, it is there.
The reality is you don’t actually have bionic powers or microchip technology in your brain.
However, you DO have a superpower of exquisite attunement. (And that is just one of your superpowers.) The attunement is because, in part, of three particular sets of genes you have.
What is a Highly Sensitive Person?
The concept of a Highly Sensitive Person has gained traction since Dr Elaine Aron coined the term in the late 1990s.
Highly Sensitive People make up 15-20% of the population. The High Sensitivity trait is present in over 100 species.
HSPs are high in sensory-processing sensitivity, a personality trait. High levels of this trait lead to greater awareness of subtleties and deep processing of information. HSPs are more aware of external (noise, light) and internal (hunger, thoughts) stimuli than people without the trait are. Their inner world is filled with rich images, thoughts, and feelings.
Most HSPs have always felt a bit different, without knowing exactly why. Often it’s because of how strongly they feel things and how intuitive they are.
Highly Sensitive People are born with a unique nervous system. It’s configured differently than the nervous system of 80-85% of the population who aren’t Highly Sensitive. In fact, scientists have identified genes that explain behavior, physical reactions, and brain activation patterns specific to HSPs.
So your Highly Sensitive Person psychic brain IS wired in a way that’s essentially a sixth sense.
Brain regions involved in awareness, empathy, and self-other processing are more easily and deeply activated than the brain regions are of people without the High Sensitivity trait.
HSPs essentially feel and integrate sensory information in a way that leads to a high degree of attunement to others and to the environment. Due to their wiring, HSPs feel, think, love, and process life around them very intensely.
This sixth sense is why so many people perceive you to be psychic. You are operating on a higher frequency. You pick up on way more than do the 80-85% of people who do not have the High Sensitivity trait.
A sixth sense/”being psychic” means different things.
There are lots of misconceptions about being ‘psychic’.
For example, many people think being psychic means you’re able to predict the future. True, “fortune telling” is one example of a psychic ability.
But so are:
- Being aware of energy
- Being intuitive
- Feeling others’ emotions
- Detecting lies
Highly Sensitive People may seem psychic because they can sense or even at times feel the energy or vibe of others. For instance, HSPs are better than non-HSPs at distinguishing between “good” guys and “bad guys”. In real life and in movies. (That does not mean the accuracy rate is 100%!)
Many HSPs have stories illustrating their awareness of other’s energy.
Often such anecdotes occur when out in public, such as at a restaurant. HSPs feel the energy of others around them. Maybe for example they’re aware of tension between a couple, even though the couple appear chatty and happy. Or they can sense the sad energy behind a smiling face. Or that their server is having a bad night despite her cheery demeanor.
If someone is bad news, you know it. Or, if something doesn’t feel right for you, you probably know that, too.
Intuition is another version of a sixth sense. For instance, Highly Sensitive People have an inner knowing, an intuition, that is hard to explain. They know for example what changes in the environment someone needs to feel comfortable, whether it is dimming the lights or lowering the television volume.
HSPs are particularly intuitive when it comes to social and emotional cues. “Reading” people comes naturally.
HSP wiring is designed for self protection. It’s fine-tuned to notice and interpret what’s going on around you in a detailed and comprehensive way. The hyperawareness (combined with memory) likely contributes to intuition.
A third type of a sixth sense is the ability to feel other people’s emotions. This can make it tricky to know when the feelings are yours, and when they belong to the other person.
Though Highly Sensitive People are not psychic, a lot of rare abilities go along with the trait.
Many of which could be considered (part of) what being psychic means.
For example, HSPs tend to communicate well. They hear the words coming out of other people’s mouths AND are attuned to subtle gestures and tone.
Another example of why people wonder if Highly Sensitive People are psychic is HSPs’ natural ability to identify people’s display –or non-display– of feelings.
HSPs pick up on each sense: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.
Without effort, HSPs also tend to take in new information unconsciously, without being aware of what has been learned. This leads to the experiences of an HSP “just knowing” a solution to a problem. This “sixth sense” isn’t technically psychic, but it’s powerful.
One of the keys to thriving as a Highly Sensitive Person is to access and share the perks of your wiring. Your ability for attunement, aka ‘being psychic’, is one such example.
Being a Highly Sensitive Person has challenges associated with it. Constantly processing so much information (“overthinking”), and feeling emotions intensely (“too sensitive”) can be exhausting, for example.
There are also gifts that accompany your extraordinary brain. Your intuition is one of those gifts.
Whether you call your innate capacities a superpower, or not, they’re part of your nervous system. Why not leverage your natural HSP capacities to enrich your life with meaning and connection?
Never in the history of managing depression and anxiety has anyone benefitted from being told to “just snap out of it” or “just relax!”
Depression and anxiety can spiral to the point where they feel unbearable. To expect a person to be able to “snap out of it” is not realistic. And it’s certainly not helpful.
Actually, it’s unkind, insensitive, and uncompassionate.
If the person could switch gears on command, she would. But thoughts and feelings that rise out of depression and anxiety are just too intense.
The good news? There are effective ways to manage depression or anxiety if you experience a flare-up.
Before we discuss tips for managing depression and anxiety, let’s take care of some definitions.
What is depression?
Being depressed is like being emotionally colorblind. If you’ve ever seen videos of people putting on EnChroma colorblind glasses for the first time, you know how affecting the experience is.
A person who has viewed the world in muted, vintage-photo shades suddenly realizes what he has been missing.
Depression is the gray scale. It’s the muted, lifeless wavelength of life’s vibrancy. It negatively affects how you feel, think, and behave.
It causes sadness and/or a loss of interest in things you used to enjoy. You may feel bummed, blue, or irritable.
Feeling tired and unmotivated is common too.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is an emotion that everyone feels to varying degrees. For some people, anxiety can be intense, persistent, and very hard to cope with.
Physical symptoms (e.g. sweaty palms, increased heart rate) are often part of anxiety.
There are effective ways to manage anxiety.
The goal isn’t to permanently exile your anxiety, but to strengthen your ability to cope with it. Tips for managing depression and anxiety if you have a flare-up:
Flare-ups happen. They don’t mean you’re back to square one. In fact, a flare-up can be an opportunity to practice and strengthen techniques from your coping repertoire.
CONDUCT EXPERIMENTS to manage depression and anxiety.
Rather than committing to a definitive resolution or plan, try the “let me see what happens if…” approach.
Think of what you’re going to do to manage the flare-up as if you’re conducting an experiment.
For example, let’s say it’s nighttime, and you’re planning for the next day. You say to yourself, “let me see what happens if I get up in the morning, shower, and then eat breakfast.”
Nothing earth-shattering about that. People get up, shower, and eat every day.
The power and coping potential lie in the comparison to what you may be used to telling yourself. “I ‘should’/’have to’ get up early tomorrow, shower, and then eat breakfast. But I know I’ll be groggy and in a bad mood and will keep pressing snooze.”
The first case speaks to hope and opportunity.
The latter sounds like a mixture of a guilt-induced mandate and pessimism.
With the “let me see what happens if” approach, you agree to try something different. Just once. Just for today.
What often happens is the experiment goes well and continues the next day…and the next…and the next….
In psychology talk, the behavior involved (conducting “experiments”) in managing depression and anxiety is reinforced (you feel accomplished) and therefore strengthened (it continues).
CREATE STRUCTURE to manage depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety affect mood, energy, and motivation. Focusing can be super difficult.
You may be tempted to stay home all day and avoid people.
If you don’t know how your day will go, you may feel anxious.
A great suggestion is to find a regular routine. Don’t let depression or anxiety be the boss of what you do and when you do it.
If you don’t have much structure, impose some. See what happens if you add structure to your days. (Hello, tip #1!)
Plan out your day. Try to make your day full-ish but not overwhelming.
Sticking to a schedule will help you to function in your daily life.
For an added boost, incorporate social connection, fun, and time spent in nature. (All at once…or not.)
ELEVATE SELF-TALK to manage depression and anxiety.
Self-defeating thoughts fuel depression and anxiety, especially because we tend to believe what we think.
Most of us take our thoughts as fact, even when the thoughts aren’t true.
Negative self-talk is stinkin’ thinkin’ — thoughts like “I suck,” “Nothing will help me,”or “I’m going to freak out if ‘x’ happens.”
Your inner critic may also glom onto thoughts associated with depression or anxiety, leading to a downward spiral of “more and worse” of the same.
Negative, inner-critic thoughts make it hard to see that you in fact have choices in your life. The negative self-talk may mean you feel stuck.
I call automatic negative thoughts ‘ants’ for short.
‘Ants’ can appear quickly. Noticing them will help you mitigate their impact. And catching them and having a counter-thought or affirmation will help you emphasize your strengths.
GENERATE SELF-COMPASSION to manage depression and anxiety.
Self-compassion gets a bad rap by those unfamiliar with the concept. With thousands of studies demonstrating its effectiveness, self-compassion is a supremely useful tool and way of relating to yourself and others. It honors your (and others’) human-ness.
With self-compassion, you’re mindful and accepting that the moment is painful. You are kind and caring in response, remembering that part of the shared human experience is to be flawed, imperfect, feeling.
This reminder allows you to hold yourself in love and connection and to give yourself the same kind of support you would give a loved one. Self-compassion creates optimal conditions for growth.
Self-compassion practices are not meant to suppress or fight against depression or anxiety.
Try any of these self-compassion practices, with the purpose of experimenting with the various practices (thank you, tip #1).
Another idea is to incorporate self-compassion practices into your day (thank you, tip#2) and reassure yourself (thank you, tip #3) that an open mind is all you need.
Having a flare-up of depression or anxiety may be inevitable.
But life has a way of presenting the same challenges as opportunities for you to gain mastery of them.
Flare-ups, when accepted in this positive light, are simply opportunities to revisit techniques you know are helpful and to experiment with new ones.Dr Elayne Daniels is a private-practice psychologist in MA, specializing in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and/or eating disorders and working with Highly Sensitive People and people with body image challenges.
Looking into treatment options for eating disorders for yourself or someone you love can be overwhelming. Even knowing where to start is challenging. In fact, a recent Google search for “treatment options for eating disorders” yielded 11,800,000 results. You read that correctly – over 11 million results.
As hard as it has been for you to get to this point, there are a few things to know about eating disorders before you start looking into treatment options.
1. Eating disorder treatment should not be delayed.
If you have an eating disorder, chances are you’ve had it for a while. People with eating disorders have symptoms for an average of six years before seeking treatment. That’s six years for your mind and body to be at odds with one another.
2. A correct diagnosis is important for treatment.
A correct diagnosis sounds straightforward. It is not.
In fact, it’s common to downplay, overlook, or even dismiss eating disorder signs. (A huge reason eating disorder signs and symptoms are ignored is Diet Culture.)
Symptoms that are easily overlooked include negative self-talk, which by definition is private and not shared with others. That’s what makes identifying when thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are part of an eating disorder so difficult to recognize for what they are. The same kind of thinking is also a part of our weight-focused culture.
Society’s (diet culture’s) messages are super glue strong. And harmful. A person’s weight does not define worth. Even though diet culture insists it does.
You can see how easily the blurry line between ‘normal’ and ‘disordered’ delays diagnosis and treatment. It makes you believe that everything is fine, when in reality everything is not fine.
So how do you even know if you or someone you love may have an eating disorder?
A great place to start is to fill out an online screening questionnaire.
Eating disorder diagnoses: What are they?
Eating disorders are not about weight, vanity, or attention seeking. They’re a way of coping with emotions that would otherwise feel too overwhelming.
Anxiety and/or depression often exist before eating disorder symptoms begin and can delay getting an accurate etig disorder diagnosis.
The category of eating disorders includes:
- Anorexia nervosa (AN)
- Bulimia nervosa (BN)
- Binge Eating Disorder (BED)
- Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
- Otherwise Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder (OSFED)
3. Have a treatment team
A typical eating disorder treatment team includes a therapist, dietician, and medical doctor.
All providers should have expertise in eating disorder treatment. Treating a person with an eating disorder is complicated.
Treatment with a therapist and dietician specializing in eating disorders makes treatment success much more likely.
Your treatment team helps with goals and guidelines and is there to support you every step of the way.
You may be familiar with referral websites such as Psychology Today. But did you know there are also places online to look for eating disorder experts, such as the National Eating Disorders Association?
The same applies to finding a registered dietician with an eating disorder specialty. Nutrition therapy for eating disorders is different from general nutrition therapy.
A family therapist may be recommended as well if the patient is living at home and/or is a minor.
Family-based treatment, also known as the Maudsley Model, may be helpful for families of teens with an eating disorder.
By the way
Many PCPs and pediatricians lack proper training in and knowledge of eating disorders. They too are a part of diet culture. Without even knowing it, they spread harmful myths and stereotypes about weight and well being. They mean no ill intent, certainly, However, you can not assume a medical provider is eating disorder savvy.
The person in need of treatment may downplay symptoms and/or refuse help. Partly because of the strong forces of diet culture. And, because an eating disorder always provides some benefit. Or it would not exist in the first place. Doing away with something that has brought relief is scary.
Denial and secrecy often go hand-in-hand with an eating disorder. Sufferers deny they have a problem and are secretive about their symptoms.
Matching treatment intensity to symptom intensity makes for a faster recovery. And, a greater chance of a successful outcome.
Higher levels of care
More intensive treatment is called a higher level of care (HLOC). There are 4 main forms.
Medical stabilization, including refeeding, requires an inpatient level of care. Length of stay is usually a few days to a couple of weeks.
Residential treatment is for people who would benefit from round the clock support and structure but are not medically compromised. Residential programs typically last for up to 3 or so months.
A third level of care is partial hospitalization. Structured group therapy for 6-8 hours/day occurs, and patients then go home to sleep. Meals are included as part of treatment.
The lowest level of care is intensive outpatient. These programs are held for three or so hours, three or so times per week. Length of stay is typically a couple of months. Usually patients have a meal and snack together.
Sometimes people start at the lowest level of care and then return to their outpatient team. Others may need higher levels of care. Sometimes treatment involves cycling through different levels of care. There is no standard sequence of treatment levels.
The recommended level of care is mostly based on severity of symptoms. Within each program, treatment is tailored to the person’s needs. There is no ‘one size fits all’.
Some higher levels of care include additional treatment programming. For example, there may be a trauma specialization track, a substance abuse track, or a specialized program for athletes. The tracks are for people who have an eating disorder along with concerns related to one of the areas of special focus.
It’s best if everyone involved in the treatment communicates with each other as a team. That way, adjustments can be made to treatment as needed. And to minimize the ‘he said she said’ that can happen when direct communication is missing.
4. Treatment planning
A comprehensive approach to treatment is ideal. Eating disorders are complex and require several specialists.
Make a plan for eating disorder treatment. This may include settings goals, providing some education, creating parameters for safety, and coming up with a crisis plan.
Treat physical complications. Health and medical issues need attention. That being said, often the sufferers’ lab results are normal. Normal lab results DO NOT mean everything is fine.
Identify resources. Find out what resources are available. Are there support groups, for example, either online or in person? How about specialized movement classes, such as yoga for eating disorders?
Make sure resources are eating disorder sensitive. For example, taking a rigorous yoga class is not a good idea. However, a gentle class taught by an instructor who’s eating disorder informed could be helpful.
Speak with your insurance company to discuss coverage for treatment, regardless of the level of care needed. The insurance company will pay more over time for someone with an untreated or partially treated eating disorder.
Medications don’t and can’t cure an eating disorder. They work best when combined with therapy.
The most common medications used to treat eating disorders are antidepressants. Especially the eating disorders that involve binge-eating or purging behaviors. Antidepressants may help reduce symptoms of depression or anxiety. These symptoms often co- occur with eating disorders.
Medications for physical health problems caused by the eating disorder may also be required. For example, co-occurring gastrointestinal symptoms (constipation, diarrhea, reflux) are commonly treated with medications.
Therapy is a must to successfully treat an eating disorder. The psychological aspects of an eating disorder can be as difficult or even harder than the physical recovery.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common and effective treatment for eating disorders. CBT improves attitudes about body shape and weight, replaces dieting with Intuitive Eating, and helps develop coping skills.
5. Have hope
Treatment works! Healing happens!
Generally, treatment is more effective before the disorder becomes chronic. However, even people who have had an eating disorder for many years can and do recover.
Eating disorders rarely, if ever, just go away on their own.
It’s OK if you “slip-up” during treatment. It’s normal. With each relapse comes opportunity to fine tune treatment and re-commit to recovery.
The most important takeaway message: People recover. Fully.
Your loved one (including if it’s you) with an eating disorder can too. The key to healing is being in the right level of treatment as early as possible. And staying hopeful along the way.
I am Dr Elayne Daniels, a MA-based, anti-diet, certified Intuitive Eating psychologist. My passion is helping people conquer eating disorders, feel comfortable in their body, and live a life of meaning. Contact me here for more information.