Listen to your heart to love your body

 
By Shayna Brouker • Published: May 21st, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Swimsuit season is just around the corner, and maybe you’re still struggling to lose those last five pounds. Maybe you cheated on your diet and gave in to your chocolate craving. But don’t beat yourself up about it … listen to your heart. Literally. A new study published in the journal PLoS One found that people who listen to their heartbeat are less likely to view themselves as objects to be judged by others.

With the advent of television and the easy access to popular culture through multimedia, people — women more often than men — have become accustomed to looking at themselves through the lens of society. That is, they’ve learned to view their bodies as objects of beauty rather than beings of strength and vitality. To test this theory, researchers at the University of London asked 50 female students between the ages of 18 and 27 to listen to their heartbeats. Those who could count the beats with more accuracy were more likely to appreciate their body for its health and function rather than its appearance.

So if you need a boost of self-esteem, shift your focus away from the way your body looks to the amazing way it functions. It’s a living, breathing being — and it’s the only one you’ve got — so show it some love.

Take time to marvel at your lungs that breathe life into you every second of the day, even when you’re asleep. Wonder at the way your skin protects the vital organs, tissues and veins lying just under its surface. Don’t think of your thighs as too thick — just look at how far they carry you. Don’t stress about the things you can’t change, like your height. Obsessing over what you perceive as flaws can only fuel the self-loathing fire. Change the way you see yourself and worry less about what the rest of the world sees. Do your best, forget the rest and be sure to love your body.