The Negative Body Image Hole – Gratitude Helps

Improving Negative Body Image

Last month I posted about the reason I’ve been away from this site for most of the year and neglecting my self-declared mission to help the world improve negative body image. I intended to get back in the saddle but, I guess not unexpectedly, I hit a bump in the road and bing, my energy fled again.

As I said then though, I am determined to not be defined by this event. More accurately, I am determined to not live the rest of my life anchored to the event.

I’ve been getting knocked off my feet for a couple of days every few weeks by blinding migraines as well, and though I think I manage migraines pretty well, I’d really rather not have them. The post-migraine hangover sucks; hangovers are one thing but I don’t have any level of fun doing this kind!

So, along comes the bump in the road, and I’m back to doing life one day at a time for a while. But I’ve been feeling very very frustrated by it, because there’s so much going on in my head that I want to get out into the world and I’ve not had the energy to do it.

Meanwhile I’ve been doing small freelance jobs like making videos etc, and one such inspired me to tidy up my own bedside-table book stash. I bet you have one too 🙂

So anyhoo, I’m tidying this stash and near the bottom I find a little notebook I’d somehow forgotten about. I’d like you to know that most mornings I start my day with a short meditation, and a bit of tapping.

Some days I do a bit of exercise. None of this is the routine I used to follow, but I do feel like I’m getting back to ‘normal’, if there is any such thing. One of my ‘normal’ things was that every few days I’d write in this little notebook. I’m sure you know about the gratitude journal – the place where you take some time each day to write about the things in your life or your day that you’re grateful for.

Other days I’d drift off to sleep remembering the grateful moments. And recently I seem to have competely lost the practice, though God knows I have so much to be grateful for.

So – the book. When I came to it in the stack I went “… oh yeah….”.

And since I was sitting on the edge of my bed anyway, I flicked it open and flipped through a few pages. I relived the gorgeous moment when I was at a huge ten day long Girl Guide camp running the camp newspaper, and my Brownie and Gumnut Guide aged daughters visited the camp for the day, and the sheer joy in their faces when we caught sight of one another.

Another gorgeous moment was when we organised a surprise party for my youngest daughter’s tenth birthday, and her complete delighted surprise when she walked into her friend’s house to see all her family and friends there – and we were thrilled that we’d pulled it off.

And I relived so many other small but lovely moments – a stranger helping me pick up my bag’s contents, someone pointing to the parking spot they’re about to leave, stunning sunsets and blissfully peaceful mornings.

Reading and reliving these wonderful moments of my life gave me such peace and joy, in the middle of the other stuff that was dragging me down.

I took a moment to be grateful for the gift of the words and feelings in this little notebook, from my younger self.

I’ve often thought that writing down the moments was a bit of a waste of time, because I could simply think about them and get the grateful vibe.

Which is true.

And as a result this notebook is not filled with thousands of moments. But it’s filled with so many moments that it lifted me up when I really needed it, in a way that I’m not sure anything else could have done.

I think I remember reading a while back that even if you don’t want to write in a gratitude journal every day, at least read what you’ve written before.

And now I get it.

My gratitude journal

So, last night I cast my mind back for just one other moment that brought me delight, and smiled with the light joy of it. And I wrote it down. And then I read it and smiled again with the lightness.

I’m sharing this because, as it nearly always does, my mind went to how this can help our negative body image feelings.

Just like nothing can survive in a vaccuum, I think that our body-bitching can’t be as loud when we’re actually feeling happy.

If you don’t have a gratitude list:

  • start one
  • don’t wait till you get the perfect book, just start. You can always copy or glue in what you write now.
  • It might be hard to find a memory of a time when you were happy, I get that. They are in there so find a quite spot and a quiet moment, close your eyes and relax, drop the ‘have to think hard’ feeling and just let a memory come up. Relax, and allow.
  • make time a couple of times a week to add memories to your list. As you add them, relive the feelings of joy, delight, love, amusement, connection, gratitude.

If you do have a gratitude list:

  • add a new memory now, or a small moment from today.
  • Relive the feeling. If it was a small fleeting moment, slow it down and identify the joy, delight, love… that flowed through you in that moment, and intensify it. Let those feelings rise and flow through you, and really bathe in them.

Then any time you notice that your nagging voice is coming up to criticise your imperfect human body and hurl you back into negative mody impage energy, pull out your list and turn to a page, any page. Read one of your precious life moments and let those feelings rise up then wash through your body. Notice what happens to that little voice. And notice what happens to your negative body image feelings.

This is such a powerful way to start to regain control of your mind. It takes just moments.

It’s so worth it! Look, it even got me blogging again 🙂

So – do you have a gratitude list? How about you share one of your special life moments with me. Actually, let’s make this a page where anyone can come to when they’re having a bad-body day and read about our delightful, joyfilled, loving, hilarious, connected, grateful moments. Will you share with us in the comments box below?

This page is part of the Negative Body Image Primer – read more here.


  1. Lorraine on August 5, 2012 at 8:17 am

    What a wonderful idea this is and I am so glad you have found the strength to come back on line once again 🙂 One of my most precious moments was when we were building our house, we had the frame work up and our eldest grandson (he was 3 at the time) came with his Mum & Dad for a visit and he pretended he was “Casper” the friendly ghost running through the walls 🙂 We all had a good laugh and still brings a smile to my dial today God bless. Cheers Lorraine

    • Sandy on August 5, 2012 at 8:27 am

      Hey Lorraine – thank you. Oh you’ve got to love the creativity and logic of kids. I can just see him having a great time, thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Marietta on August 5, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Hi Sandy,

    I feel for you with the migraines and applaud the fact that you still have the energy to continue to live each day rather than lock yourself away to deal with your pain all alone. Good for you.

    Many thanks for continuing to connect with us, you are an example of perseverance in the face of obstacles and frustrations. Keep it up, you have my admiration!


    • Sandy on August 5, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      Hey Marietta 🙂 Thank you – I hope the new supplements will deliver on their promise, too much I want to do to be bothered with migraines! I’ll update in a month or so.

  3. Mimi on August 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Hey Sandy!

    Good to have you back, my dear! 🙂 Gratitude to the gratitude journal, if that’s what helped!!

    I’ve been “meaning” to start one for the longest time… So, tonight, I do! And I sure have a lot to be grateful for, today I left my children with their grand-parents, and drove for two hours, thinking, talking on the phone, singing along with oldies on the radio… to meet up with a friend I hadn’t seen for two years, in the town where I was born, but left 21 years ago… And then driving back again, to find the kids had had a great day, my mum had kept me dinner, we played cards and then I had a fabulous coaching session! And then, your blog post, thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I’ll be back…


    : ) Mimi

    • Sandy on August 6, 2012 at 4:26 am

      Thanks Mimi – so glad that you got started on your journal. I added a new thing to mine this morning, and I read a couple of others – and I’ve been a-bouncing through the day 🙂 Thanks for sharing your lovely day, I’m guessing you’re up for more just like that?

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