Name: Living with your body and other things you hate
Authors: Emily K Sandoz and Troy Du Frene
Price: paperback $13,94; Kindle $10,04
Let’s be honest: most people are unhappy with at least some aspect of their physical appearance. Just think of all the money we spend each year trying to improve our looks! But if worrying about your appearance is getting in the way of living, maybe it’s time to start thinking about body image in a completely new way.
Based in proven-effective acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), Living with Your Body and Other Things You Hate offers a unique approach to addressing your struggle with body image. In this book, you will not be told that your self-perceptions are wrong, that your thoughts are irrational, or that your feelings are misguided. Instead, you will learn to live with the reality that these often painful thoughts and beliefs about yourself will arise from time to time, and that what is really important is accepting these distressing thoughts without allowing them to dominate your life.
You know what it’s like to constantly be checking the mirror, to avoid certain social situations where your body may be exposed, or to gaze longingly at a fashion model in a magazine and think, “Why can’t I be her?” But what you may not know is that people who struggle with negative body image are at an increased risk for depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and low self-esteem. Body image problems can even lead to major financial issues. By focusing on your appearance and little else, you are hurting yourself in more ways than one.
If you are ready to find a purpose in life that is more important than the pain you feel about your appearance, this book provides a truthful, powerful resource.
Who has never hated the way they look? Or, at the very least, disliked some body parts so much they wished they could change them? In a society like ours, obsessed with looks and appearances, even top models and celebrities who fit the ideal of beauty we’re constantly fed aren’t often comfortable in their own skin and wish they looked different. It’s therefore no surprise that the beauty industry is one of the few that are still thriving in this bad economy, as people try new beauty products and treatments in the hope to improve their looks.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with liking all things beauty and want to present your best face to the world. I’m a beauty blogger after all, so you’ll often find me in beauty shops swatching that lipstick or testing that foundation. I’m also a big believer that a girl can never have too many nail polishes (or blushes, or body creams, or whatever). Experimenting with makeup and pampering your skin with a new mask can be enjoyable, and even empowering, experiences.
The problem starts when you purchase that self-tanner because you believe that your pale skin is ugly and needs to be covered, or that bronzer because your chubby cheeks make you so uncomfortable that you refuse to step out of the house without contouring them, or that foundation because you can’t bear the thought that someone, even just your mom or your significant other, should see your bare face.
When you worry so much about your appearance, your insecurities prevent you from living your life to the full. If you’ve turned down a friend’s invitation to go the beach because you think you look ugly in a bikini, or refused to apply for a job for fear of being rejected for not looking pretty enough, or are constantly asking your partner for reassurance that they really love because you’re scared you’ll soon get damped for someone taller or slimmer, then it’s time to admit you have a problem.
It’s time you start thinking about your body in a different way, and accept and love the way you look. Easier said than done, I know. If you hate your body, you have probably tried everything, from crazy diets to celebrity-endorsed products to simply shrugging your shoulders and telling yourself that looks aren’t that important anyway, but without success. Those negative feelings about your appearance are still there. You just can’t seem to let them go.
What if you don’t have to? Not completely anyway? No, I’m not mad, although the first time I heard about this new approach, I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow too. I’m talking about ACT (pronounced as a word, not letters), short for Acceptance And Commitment Therapy. Based on this new therapy, Living With Your Body And Other Things You Hate, a new book written by Emily K Sandoz, assistant professor of psychology at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, LA, doesn’t tell you that your negative thoughts about your body are wrong and your feelings irrational.
Instead, it tells you that it’s ok to feel bad about the way you look from time to time, and teaches you how to accept these negative thoughts without allowing them to dominate, and ruin, your life. It won’t be an easy journey though. The book gives you a series of exercises that you will have to complete if you’re serious about improving your body image. And these exercises are tough, even painful.
Painful because they will force you to remember memories that you would rather remained hidden forever, and face issues that will evoke distressing feelings. But you can’t heal if you don’t. To help relax and focus while you’re doing them, you can listen to the audio tracks that come with the book. Unfortunately, a notebook and a pen aren’t included as well, which is a shame because you’ll have to write and revise your notes quite often.
Does ACT work for everyone? Nope. We are all different, and what works for one person may not work for another. That’s true for a moisturizer, a medicine, or a therapy. But if you’re tried everything else without getting any results, then why not give ACT a go too? After all, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Did it work for me? Well, I’ve read this book at a time when I feel comfortable with my body, but the techniques it teaches can be applied to other areas of your life, like depression and anxiety, for example. Anxiety is something I’ve always battled with, and although ACT didn’t completely cure it yet, it is certainly helping me. If you’re willing to try something new, it may help you too.
Available at: amazon
Based on ACT, Living With Your Body And Other Things You Hate, teaches you how to deal with, and accept, the negative thoughts you have about your body, so that they won’t rule your life anymore. However, the exercises it prescribes can be quite painful to do, because they will force you face your demons. But if you stick to them, you’ll find it’s worth it. Plus, the techniques you’ll learn can also be used to deal with any other issue you may have, such as anxiety or eating disorders.