Positive body affirmations aren't just phrases that make you feel good, they're science-backed tools to reshape our mindset. Your body deserves love, so dont waste time obsessing over negative thoughts! Dive into this guide for parents and their children, and discover how to nurture love in both you and your kids.
In today's digital age, it feels like every swipe or click showcases another physical appearance that's deemed 'perfect'. For us busy parents, the pressure can feel even more intense sometimes shaking our body's confidence.
As a mom of three and someone deeply passionate about brain health (with a Ph.D. in neuroscience to back it up), I've personally experienced the challenges of body image. And I've delved into how our positive thoughts (and even negative ones) can affect our sense of having a healthy body image.
From my teenage years to the weight and body changes I experienced post-pregnancy, I've learned the importance of self-love and acceptance and the wisdom of my body. But learning to accept myself and all my body parts did not come without my fair share of struggle. But I really took notice of how I care for my body and the words I choose to use when I saw my own child struggle with negative body image thoughts.
Through this article, I'm blending science with my personal experience to share body positive affirmations and why they should be a part of your daily routine. My goal? To guide both parents and kids towards a positive mindset and self love, helping them embrace their own skin and the amazing things their bodies can do.
🧠The Neuroscience Behind Positive Body Affirmations
Ever wonder why those little positive body image affirmations or pep talks we give ourselves (or our kids) feel so darn good? Well, it's not just magic; it's science! Our brains are pretty much like sponges. They soak up what we feed them, whether it's body-positive affirmations or negative body image thoughts.
- Brain Boost: A study found that when we engage in positive self-talk, specific brain areas light up (1). These areas, crucial for our body confidence, are linked to our sense of self-worth and the reward systems. Essentially, when we affirm ourselves, our brain recognizes and rewards us by releasing feel-good chemicals. It's our brain's way of saying, "Hey, thanks for those positive statements and good vibes!"
- Well-being & Resilience: Our brains are incredibly adaptable. When we consistently feed ourselves daily affirmations, over time we begin to see structural changes in our brains. Specifically, we can begin strengthening pathways associated with a positive mindset and resilience (2, 3). Over time, this positive self-talk can promote a healthy self-image, improve body acceptance, and support mental resiliency by helping us bounce back from challenges (2).
- For the Kiddos: Kids, especially adolescents, are in a crucial phase of brain development. Introducing them to body positivity affirmations can help shape and strengthen their brain pathways in a way that boosts self-esteem and body love (3). It's like laying down a foundation of positivity that they can build upon as they grow, ensuring they feel worthy of love and respect for their physical appearance.
A little body-positive affirmation can go a long way. It's not just a feel-good phrase it's a powerful tool backed by science! So lets take the first step in combating those negative body image thoughts and boost overall well-being!
👣Taking the First Step
Embarking on the journey of positive body affirmations and self-talk might seem overwhelming initially. But trust me, the ripple effects on your body confidence and overall well-being are profound. Here's a straightforward guide to help you embrace this body-positivity journey:
Remember, showcasing positive self-talk to our children is among the most precious gifts we can offer. It's not just about words; it's about fostering a healthy relationship with oneself and setting them on a path of body acceptance!
How to Start Body Affirmations:
- Acknowledge the Power of Mindset: Recognize that our minds, just like our physical appearance, flourish with positive thoughts. By consciously opting for uplifting affirmations, we enhance our sense of self-worth, self love, and mental health.
- Start Small: Small steps can make a big impact! Start small with just one daily affirmation. Something as heartfelt as "I am worthy of love" can be your starting point. Echo it in your mind throughout your day, especially during those not-so-great moments.
- Involve Your Kids: Our little ones are always watching and learning. Introduce them to body-positive affirmations. Make it a cherished ritual - perhaps over breakfast or at bedtime. Take turns, and share something positive about yourselves. You may be amazed a how natural it is for kids to have a positive attitude about their bodies.
- Model Positive Self-Talk: Our kids learn so much by example. When they see you embracing body love and positive self-talk, it sends a clear message about self-acceptance and the wisdom of our bodies.
- Reinforce the Message: Dive deeper into activities that echo self-love. Whether it's reading books on the body positivity movement or jamming to uplifting tunes (check out some of my favorites at the end of this post!). Speak to your children about positive ways we can take care of our bodies!
- Celebrate Small Wins: Every time you or your child replace a negative thought with a positive statement, celebrate it. This could be a high-five, a hug, or a little happy dance.
- Consistency is Key: Like any new habit, consistency and time are crucial. The more you immerse in positive self-talk, the more second nature it becomes, helping combat any negative body image thoughts. Remember it takes time!
Healthy Body & Balanced Meals
Modeling positive self-talk is just one aspect of setting a good example. Just as we teach our kids the power of positive words, we can also introduce them to the importance of eating a balanced diet (versus 'dieting') to help take care of our bodies. You can find kid-approved balanced meal ideas here!
If you're grappling with picky eaters at home or striving to ensure a balanced diet for your family, I've got some tips that might help in our Tips& Meals for Picky Eater.
🤝How to Add Affirmations to Daily Life
Taking the leap into the world of daily affirmations is like planting a seed. With the right care, it can blossom, offering a place of body respect and solace.
But how do you nurture this seed, and when's the ideal time of day? Let's dive in:
- Choose Your Affirmations: Start by selecting 1-5 affirmations from the cards below that resonate with you deeply. These should be types of affirmations that reflect your body type and counter any physical flaw you might perceive in yourself. I like to focus on body neutrality and not on specific details.
- Pick a Convenient Time: Choose a time that you know will work consistently. For many, reciting morning affirmations while brushing their teeth, or using those sticky notes on the mirror as reminders, work wonders. Remember, it's all about building a better relationship with consistency.
- Face the Mirror: As you say each affirmation, look into your eyes in the mirror. This can create a deeper connection with yourself and help foster that positive mindset by making the affirmations more impactful.
- Say It with Feeling: Embrace the amazing things these affirmations bring out in you. Feel the emotion, believe in the words, and remember, you're a good person deserving of love. Believe in what you're saying.
- Involve Your Kids: Make it a family activity. Share affirmations with your children, and maybe during breakfast or bedtime, take turns saying something positive about yourselves.
- Reinforce with Activities: Engage in activities that promote self-love and body positivity movements. This could be reading related books, listening to uplifting songs, or attending workshops. Check out the resources list below for some great sounds and books.
- Celebrate the Positivity: Every time you or your child replace a negative thought with a positive affirmation, acknowledge it. It could be a simple nod, a smile, or even a little dance.
- Stay Consistent: Like any new habit, the key to making affirmations work is consistency. The more you practice, the more ingrained these positive beliefs become.
🧑🏽🔬What Does the Research Say?
Scientific studies have shown that body acceptance affirmations can activate brain regions associated with self-related processing and reward (1). This activation can lead to improved self-worth and a more positive outlook on life. Moreover, consistent practice of positive affirmations has been linked to long-term benefits, such as increased mental resilience and a reduction in low self-esteem and negative thought patterns (1,2,3).
➡️Affirmations for Parents
Body Image Positive Affirmations
Loving Your Body
Respecting Our Bodies
Compassion for Our Bodies
➡️Affirmations for Children
Affirmations for Body Image
Loving Our Bodies
📨Sharable Positive Affirmations Card
Want it all! Here are all the positive body affirmations and body positive mantras in one place:
🎶Extra Resources & Songs
- Mother Moon's Affirmation Song: Looking for a catchy way to introduce body-positive affirmations to your kids? Check out Mother Moon's song, I Love My Body, on Spotify. You can also watch her perform this body affirmation song on TikTok or explore her book. This isn't sponsored; it's just a fantastic resource!
- Lindsey Gurk's Affirmation Song: Lindsey Gurk's affirmation song is a hit in our household. It's a heartwarming tune that my boys adore. You can listen to her song on TikTok or check out her affirmation shirt here.
- The Body Happy Org's Resources for Parents: This organization offers a plethora of body confidence affirmation and resources to help parents foster a positive body image in their children.
Positive body affirmations are uplifting statements that promote self love, body acceptance, and a positive self-image. They help counteract negative beliefs and reinforce a healthy mindset about one's body.
Consistency is key. Daily repetition can help reinforce the positive beliefs in your mind. However, the frequency can vary based on individual preferences and your daily routine. Some people find it beneficial to repeat this positive body affirmations multiple times a day, while others prefer once.
Absolutely! Positive affirmations can boost self-esteem and body image in children. By introducing them to affirmations at a young age, you're laying a foundation of positivity that they can build upon as they grow. Its a great way to help teach body neutrality and combat negative self-talk.
Yes, research has shown that positive affirmations along with a positive attitude can activate brain regions associated with self-worth and reward. Over time, consistent practice can lead to improved self-worth and a more positive outlook on life.
While positive affirmations nourish our minds, it's equally essential to nourish our bodies. Check out some of my favorite healthy recipes that are not only delicious but also packed with nutrients:
- Creamy Tofu Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells
- Sticky Orange Tofu
- Fudgy Sugar-Free Brownie
- 1 Bowl of Baked Oatmeal
- Cascio, C. N., O'Donnell, M. B., Tinney, F. J., Lieberman, M. D., Taylor, S. E., Strecher, V. J., & Falk, E. B. (2016). Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 11(4), 621-629.
- Gillespie, N. A., Neale, M. C., Bates, T. C., Medland, S. E., Martin, N. G., & Wright, M. J. (2022). TWIN-10: protocol for a 10-year longitudinal twin study of the neuroscience of mental well-being and resilience. BMJ Open, 12, e058918.
- Bejarano, C. M., & Tucker, W. J. (2019). An Inclusive Approach to Exploring Perceptions of Body Image, Self-Esteem, and Physical Activity among Black and African-American Girls: Smart Fit Girls Melanin Magic. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 37(3).