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Foster physical wellness through body positivity

Male and female stand next to each other in courtyard

Try improving your physical wellness by focusing on body positivity.

Working on your physical wellness may sound like a daunting task of dedicating extra hours out of your already busy week to hitting the gym, but it can actually be quite simple and empowering. Physical wellness is not just about diet and exercise. It also involves appreciation of your body’s unique characteristics and qualities.

Respecting your and other people’s body uniqueness and diversity is vital to your overall well being. Optimal physical well-being includes connecting with your physical self and avoiding harmful habits, while remaining focused on the balance of body-mind-spirit.

From the comfort of your own home, try improving your physical wellness by focusing on body positivity.

Accept where you are right now.
Having body-related goals such as gaining/losing weight or muscle is great! However, these goals should not come at the expense of embracing your current body shape and size. Additionally, when someone gives you a compliment, rather than objecting say “thank you” and acknowledge the compliment for its truth.

Embrace size diversity.
People come in a plethora of varying shapes and sizes. Valuing the uniqueness of them all is an incredibly empowering tool for respect of not only your body, but the bodies of others as well. Avoiding the comparison of yourself to others and the promotion of unrealistic ideals (such as in the media) can help raise not only your physical wellness, but your peers’ as well.

Stay positive.
Do your best to avoid negative thoughts, feelings, and comments about yourself that contribute to body dissatisfaction. It’s difficult to feel good about yourself when you engage in these behaviors. Remind those around you who are talking negatively about their bodies that everyone is unique in their beauty.

Focus on health.
We expect a lot from our bodies, and we need to treat them with care and kindness. Attend to all dimensions of wellness. Remember, the goal is to feel good and not just to look good.

Trust yourself.
We have internal systems designed to help keep us healthy. Be mindful of your body and its cues. Honor your body’s signals for hunger, fullness, and satiety.

Compliment beyond appearance.
Challenge yourself to go beyond the visual, honoring the whole person. Instead of commenting on someone’s appearance or focusing on your own, share a characteristic that you admire such as strength, intelligence, humor, and generosity.

Additional resources

Join SEVEN and discover wellness at Illinois State

Challenge yourself to make YOU a priority! SEVEN is a free program from Health Promotion and Wellness for students, faculty, and staff that focuses on the importance of the seven dimensions of wellness: emotionalenvironment, intellectual,physicalsocialspiritual, and vocational. SEVEN runs from September to the end of April, and you can join at any time. Log wellness activities to earn points toward monthly prize drawings. Participants also receive the SEVEN newsletter and information on campus wellness events.

For more information, visit Wellness.IllinoisState.edu/Seven.