Body confidence for dummies

Jun 30, 2014 at 8:00 a.m. ET

When was the last time you got up in the morning and thought "Hot damn, I am looking mighty fine today"? If your answer isn't this morning, then it's time to find some body confidence with these simple tips.

1. Realise the gravity of gratitude

As author Zig Ziglar once famously wrote, "The greatest source of happiness is the ability to be grateful at all times." In other words, through gratitude comes happiness, not the other way around. The next time you think your tummy is too flabby or your arms too wobbly, think of one thing to be grateful for of that body part. For example, I am grateful for my legs for healing quickly after an ankle injury and allowing me to embarrass myself during step class once more.

2. Be open to seeing, not just looking

When did you last look at yourself in the mirror? And I mean really look? It might be a slow process, but one step toward body confidence means taking a look at what you have and really seeing it and appreciating it. Step in front of the mirror, in your knickers, in the nude, in your pyjamas if you like, and search for the beauty in what you see in front of you. Whether it's your skin, your eyes or that freckle on your big toe, see the beauty that is your one-of-a-kind body.

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3. Learn about the science behind your amazing body

Sometimes it takes a jolt of realism before we can truly appreciate the amazing qualities of our own bodies. Did you know that the human lung has a surface area around the same size as a tennis court? Or that you can remember more than 50,000 unique scents? The body is incredible. Think about the body part which annoys you the most and do your research about how scientifically incredible that body part really is.

4. Take time to work on your inner beauty

A survey by Marks & Spencer found women, on average, spend 3,276 hours on grooming in their lifetimes. How much time do we spend on our inner beauty? That 3,276 could be spent cultivating our inner workings and feeling good about ourselves from the inside out, instead of trying to feel good on the inside by focusing on making up, working out and altering our outsides. Think of ways you can work on your inner beauty, perhaps by reading an inspiring book, learning a new skill, or volunteering your time for a worthy cause.

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5. Readjust your thinking patterns

If words like chubby, fat, gross or imperfect are being used to describe yourself, then it's time to rethink and replace them with words that are loving, appreciative and celebratory. Be gentle and allow yourself to treat your body with respect and kindness. The Butterfly Foundation, which supports Australians suffering from eating disorders, says "There is an enormous lack of knowledge in the community surrounding negative body image and eating disorders. Poor body image presents a huge problem for both males and females across Australia and it is an issue that is often kept a closely guarded secret by sufferers."

6. Be kind to others

Let's step back for a moment and get out of our own heads. It can be easy to get caught up in the physicalities of our lives: what we look like, whether people are judging us, whether or not we feel worthy, sexy, beautiful. But let's challenge ourselves to shake things up and put the attention on others. Go visit a friend who is down in the dumps and cook them dinner, offer to take your friend's kids for the night while they have a much-needed break, or volunteer with a group that needs support. Putting energy into areas that allow you to show love and support to others will bring love and support right back to you. Put things into perspective and connect with others who may be feeling vulnerable and in need of a hug, too.

Tell us! What other ways can you think of to build body confidence? Share your ideas in the comments.

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