Episode 28: How to Train Your Brain to Think About Your Body

Episode Summary

Just like any other characteristic we have, our brain has an opinion about our bodies. And because our brain is programmed to look for problems, its opinion about our body is always focused on what is wrong or undesirable about our physical appearance.

In this episode of the podcast, I will teach you how to retrain your brain in the way it thinks about your body.

These four ideas can help you as you decide how you want to think about your amazing human body:

1. Our idea of beauty and body image is only a collection of optional thoughts.

2. Comparison is the default mode of our brain, but it never serves you.

3. Your body is 100% perfect as it is.

4. You can take charge and stop letting your brain bully your body.

The things you think about your body matter. And you always get to choose how you think about you—all the parts of you, including your human body, that makes the earth-life experience possible.

The primitive part of your brain only wants to point out your flaws, but you are not your brain, and you are not your body. You are so much more than that…and that, my friends, is 100% awesome!


Episode Tools and Questions

Body Image is Created in the Brain

We often think that our body image, or how we feel about our body, just is.  That it just exists independent of us: "I have these things that are wrong with my body and so I think this about my body."

This is never the case.  Our body image is always a choice we make, though most of us do it unconsciously using the thoughts provided by the lower brain. 

We also think if we just fixed certain things about our body then we would feel better and have a better body image.

But no matter how many things we change or fix or remodel, our lower brain never stops working and never stops pointing out problems.

Feeling better about our body is not about changing our body, its about changing our brain.   We have to realize we have created our body image and once we know this we can be  intentional and decide exactly how we want to feel about our bodies.

If we want to change how we feel about our bodies, we have to do that work in our mind and not our bodies.

Powerful Thoughts and Questions to Consider

These four ideas can help you as you decide how you want to think about your amazing human body:

1.  Our idea of beauty and body image is only a collection of optional thoughts.

This means you are under no obligation to believe cultural ideals about beauty or body size.  You get to decide what you want to believe about your body and what you want to believe about beauty.

Ask yourself, "What do I want to believe about my body?"  Or if you are having trouble with a particularly painful thought about your body ask yourself, "What if I didn't believe this at all?"

2.  Comparison is the default mode of the brain, but it never serves you.

Our brain likes to rank and assess based on immediately obvious, false measures of self.  It will do this naturally and automatically.

You will need to redirect your brain on purpose to avoid comparing and despairing.  Remember that without ranking and comparison there would be no judgement of ourselves and our bodies.  

3.  Your body is 100% perfect the way that it is.  

You are in the body you were supposed to have. It is perfect for you. For your mission. For your purpose. For your learning. For your growth and development and evolution.

Ask yourself, "What if my body is perfect?  In what ways is my body 100% perfect?"

4.  You can take charge and stop letting your brain bully your body.

Just because your lower brain offers you disparaging thoughts about your body, does not mean you have to attach to those thoughts or believe you're brain.  You are the boss. You get to decide not to beat yourself up.  You get to decide that thinking mean thoughts is no longer allowed.

What if you just let yourself marvel in your human body and be a little awed by it instead of thinking it’s not right in whatever arbitrary way you think? I invite you to be a little bit amazed by your body and see what that thought creates in your life.  

Ask yourself, "How is my body amazing?" and ask yourself, "What will I no longer allow myself to say about my body?



Episode Notes

Mentioned in the podcast:

  • Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife:   "The body is a kind of quick measure of one’s value.  It’s an easy way to kind of size up because as human beings we are often looking for the most superficial assessments of ourselves and others.  What kind of grades do we get?  How much money do we have?  How do we appear?  Body image  is just one of those false but easy measures of self.  And so I think our natural instinct is to prioritize it and focus on it in a way that is distorting of our actual value but very easy to make our focus.”
  • Byron Katie:  “Everyone has the perfect body. If you weren’t able to compare your body to any other, what could possibly be lacking? Without the mind’s comparison, no one can be too fat or too thin. That’s not possible; it’s a myth.”
  • The Little Book of Big Change by Amy Johnson, PhD.
  • Amy Johnson:  “When we don’t realize how simple and often meaningless the lower brain’s messages are, we innocently and understandably hear those messages as truth."


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