From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Feeling Bad About Your Body?

If you live in Fort Lauderdale, or South Florida for that matter, you know that it is an "image culture."  Beaches, bathing suits and hot bodies seem to be the order of the day.  But what if you don't fit the stereotypical mold?

This article, written by Kelly Tatera, explores body image and weight dissatisfaction.  It's worth a read!

Accepting your body is the first and most important step to getting healthier.

The way you feel about your body might have an even greater impact on your health than your actual weight, according to a number of scientific studies. The research isn’t meant to tone down the health risks associated with being overweight, but the findings reveal that feeling bad about your body could be harmful to your wellbeing, both physically and mentally.

In a study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, a survey of over 100 female college students found a link between negative body image and a “generally diminished quality of life.” Other studies have linked weight dissatisfaction to higher blood pressure, glucose levels, and body-mass indexes (BMIs), as well as a greater risk of metabolic disease, disordered eating, and lower self-esteem.

A more recent study in 2014 found that weight dissatisfaction was linked to an eventual onset of type II diabetes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be an issue that’s going anywhere anytime soon, as another study revealed that feeling dissatisfied with body image is a growing problem.

Multiple studies have found that people who are satisfied with their bodies tend to exercise more often, so part of the problem may simply be that people who like their bodies take better care of them. In general, people who aren’t happy with their bodies exercise less and put on more weight, according to research.

“Weight dissatisfaction may actually discourage people from engaging in healthy behaviors,”Christine Blake from the Arnold School of Health in South Carolina told Quartz’s Harriet Brown. “They might be less likely to respond to programs that encourage health, saying, ‘Ah, forget it.’”

So what’s the best way to go about tackling weight issues? Instead of jumping to diets and rigid exercise schedules, Blake suggests that the first necessary step is to help people with body image issues gain a sense of self-acceptance and body positivity. Focusing on weight issues can often lead to stress, self-loathing, or other unhealthy behaviors, so before an individual can make genuine progress, he or she must let go of negative self-inflicted thoughts.

Managing weight-related issues can obviously be guided by doctors, but parents can also make a difference. A study back in 2009 looked at adolescents from 24 different countries and found strong links between body dissatisfaction and problems with parent-child communication, so healthy relationships at home could have a significant impact on feeling good about our bodies.

These studies certainly raise an interesting point since most people jump to the conclusion that the biggest issues when it comes to weight-related health risks has to do with, well, actual weight. But it appears that there’s an even more important issue to smooth out before all else, and as cliché as it sounds, accepting yourself must come first. You may roll your eyes hearing the whole “accept and love yourself” shpiel from your mom or in an inspirational Instagram post, but now even science confirms the importance of accepting your body.

From Maesk Group Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Things Happy People Do

This is a great article from The Power of Happy:

11 Things That Genuinely Happy People Do

Have you ever wondered what makes genuinely happy people happy? It’s not that their lives are less stressful or that they have more money or friends. No those do not have a bearing on happiness. There are several things, however, that really happy people do and 11 of them are listed below. These habits, ways of being and rituals are keys to what makes happy people happy.

1.  They Rest

Happy people cultivate rest. They know when it is time to take a break and slow down. They are great at getting things done, but it is only because they are well-rested. Incorporating rest and relaxation as a mandatory part of the lives of truly happy people. They take the necessary time to rejuvenate.

2. They Think

Happy people use their brains. They know this is one of their biggest assets. Happy people know that thinking is important to making good decisions and having fruitful relationships. They think through what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Likewise, happy people consciously think about choosing happiness, what that means to them and how to do create true joy in their lives.

3. They Turn Off Their Devices

Happy people love technology just as much as the rest of us, but they are not addicted to it. They know when it is time to set down their phones, tablets and laptops. They make the effort to engage with the people around them face-to-face and without distraction. Similarly, they also take time to soak up the world around them, not just through technology, but with their actual senses in the present moment.

4. They Move

Happy people know that our bodies were made to move and they move their bodies. The human body needs to move to maintain health. Likewise, it helps people to feel good and happy when we move regularly. From walking to stretching to high intensity interval training to yoga – if you want to feel happier, start moving your body. See also Spark by John J. Ratey for more information about how moving improves mood.

5. They Do Things They Love to Do

An essential component to being happy is taking time to create time to engage in doing the things you enjoy. Happy people know that it is crucial to make the time to do the things they love and then they do it, happily and without guilt. To figure out how to do more of the things you enjoy, read Take the Leap by Heather McCloskey Beck.

6. They Eat Well

Do you ever see truly happy people downing junk food or fast food? No, you don’t. You just don’t. Truly happy people are also health people fueling their bodies with nourishment. Science is now linking mood to food with sugar being a major culprit in depression and anxiety. Happy people take care of their bodies. It’s not to say they don’t indulge occasionally, but for the most part, eating well is important to them and contributes to their happiness.

7. They are Deeply Grateful

This is one of the most common characteristics amongst the happiest of people – they are deeply grateful. Happy people recognize what they have. They also see the silver lining in all situations, no matter how grim. Further, they express their gratitude openly. They are thankful for the things they have, the people in their lives and their experiences.

A great way to get started on cultivating more gratitude is to keep a journal and write down a few things each day that you are grateful for. At first it might seem trivial or even difficult for you, but over time, it becomes part of who you are.

8. They Plan

Happy people love the present moment, but they also plan ahead so that they are prepared in life situations. They are good with their money too. This keeps their stress lower and allows them to enjoy the present moment without the worry that so many people feel on a constant basis. Happy people have a flexible plan in place all the time.

9. They Read Stuff

Happy people are learners and are known to read things that develop them as humans, increase their skills or that simply inspire them. Whether it is fiction or non, happy people are quite often also readers. They like to constantly learn, better themselves and be entertained through reading.

10. They Play

Happy people know that play is a huge part of happiness. Play is defined by Brene Brown as time spent without a purpose. It is just being. Goofing off and fooling around. Tied down to nothing and with no expectations, happy people incorporate regular play into their lives.

11. They Purposefully Choose Happiness

Not all experiences in life are happy ones. Likewise, people are not just automatically happy. It takes effort and one of the most common traits among really happy people is that they purposefully choose happiness. They make the most out of all experiences and choose to find joy in all points of the journey. If this is new to you, try this – just tell yourself you’re going to choose to be happy. Try it out for even just a day and you will see the difference it can make.