The human(or animal) body is a complex structure of many different cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems working together in sync. Yet, in our everyday lives, most of us rarely pay attention to our bodies, instead focusing on our thoughts and feelings. Body neutrality is one of the movements that rose to help change how we perceive and interact with our bodies for the better. Before considering the benefits of practicing body neutrality, let us understand how it differs from body positivity.
Body positivity is an attitude of feeling good about, loving, and cherishing your body. On the other hand, body neutrality is an attitude of being objective about your body and appreciating it for its functions. Both approaches are healthy and aid a positive attitude that encourages physical health.
Body Neutrality: Meaning & Benefits
Body neutrality refers to maintaining an attitude of neutrality toward your body. The roots of this principle lie in genetics. We are more than our bodies, the appearance of which is beyond our control and determined at birth. Rather than loving or hating it, you can just focus on and appreciate the body’s functioning. The benefits of practicing body neutrality are numerous, but the following are the most important ones.
You stop judging other people for how they look: Since you don’t judge the worth of your body by its appearance, you naturally stop judging people based on their appearance. You can perceive different qualities in people and don’t make many assumptions based on first impressions.
You develop a deep connection with your body: When you start focusing on the functioning of your body, you will naturally develop a deeper relationship with it. A deeper connection indicates knowing when to eat, sleep, and take care of your body. Exercise, hiking, and running are some activities you can undertake to improve your physical health.
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You feel less anxious about your looks: Many people suffer from body issue images, and perception of weight is also related to different eating disorders. If you felt uneasy about your looks earlier, you might be more reassured if you start perceiving the body as a functional mechanism.
You start to appreciate your sensory experience: Think about it. Your body is a tool that lets you experience the world through taste, smell, touch, sound, and sight. The five senses are a blessing that makes life colorful, engaging, and worth experiencing. You can develop a sense of gratefulness and reverence toward your body through body neutrality.
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You get one step closer to body positivity: Body positivity is an attitude that comes with greater self-esteem and confidence that makes it worthwhile. But for many people, being optimistic about their bodies is a giant leap. On the other hand, being neutral about the body and appreciating its functions is a good starting point.
Body neutrality is an attitude of being neutral, objective, or appreciative of the body based only on its functioning. It differs from body positivity in that the latter means feeling good or having a positive attitude toward the body. A significant part of developing positive or appreciative attitudes toward your body is taking action for the same. The benefits of practicing both body neutrality and positivity are numerous. Some steps you can take for proper physical health care include regular exercise, adequate nutrition, and timely sleep. Of these, exercise is also linked with positive mental health outcomes. For learning what kind of exercise is best for mental health, click here.
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