Changing your mindset really can transform you from the inside out. Annette Dasey discovers how
Wish you could change your dress size by adjusting your attitude? You can. The key is to commit to transforming self-judgement into self-love, according to intuitive healer Inna Segal. In her book The Secret of Life Wellness: The Essential Guide to Life’s Big Questions (Rockpool Publishing), Segal explains that many people have a complicated relationship with their looks, shaped by past hurt, fear, guilt, anger or frustration. However, that relationship can be repaired in four steps, which all work to confront negative emotions and change the way you think, she says. “When we have emotions that we don’t know how to deal with, such as anger and frustration, we can turn to food. You eat, which raises blood sugar. That makes you feel better in the short-term but can become a self-punishing experience: I’ve done something bad, I feel bad and I’m going to punish myself by doing more of it.”
Identify unresolved negative emotions and how they impact your self-esteem and eating habits. Do you have little self-respect and allow people to mistreat you because you received negative criticism as a child? Focus on improving your confidence, standing up for yourself and setting better boundaries. Instead of automatically reaching for the Tim Tams, question your motivation. “Ask, ‘Am I hungry or angry or feeling bad about myself?’” Segal says. If you’re experiencing an emotion, focus on that emotion and how it’s affecting you. “When an emotion comes up that you feel uncomfortable dealing with, start to acknowledge it within 24 hours because whatever we resist persists.”
Once you’ve identified the feeling, physically release it. One technique is to do exercise such as running, boxing or dancing. “If you’re angry, move, shake your body, dance around, feel and breathe,” Segal says. “Use movement as an emotional release.”
Or put on some music. “Listen to a song that speaks to you in relation to that emotion, breathe through that feeling and recognise what it means,” Segal adds. “Ask, ‘Is this emotion coming from the past or present?’ It could be from prior trauma or future worries, which are usually fear-based.” Give that emotion a colour, say grey, and visualise that colour moving out of your body with your breath. Then imagine a colour that makes you feel better, such as yellow, and visualise drinking that colour into your body to replace the negative emotion.
“Place your hands where you feel the emotion most, like your stomach, and ask yourself why you’re feeling it. Recognising where it’s coming from makes a huge difference. Massage or tap that part of the body then put on a sad song, acknowledge that emotion and allow yourself to let it go.”
We subconsciously attract what we feel we deserve into our lives. If deep down you’re feeling inadequate and worthless, you’ll allow people to treat you that way. Reject perfectionism and ensure making time for yourself is a daily necessity rather than a luxury. If this feels unnatural, remember that being kind to yourself will lead to happiness. “Ask, ‘Is the way I’m treating myself working?’” Segal says. “If the answer is ‘no’ then think about a person you love and treat yourself how you’d treat them.” Try it for a week. You won’t want to return to your old habits.
How do you seize self-love after years of harsh self-criticism has become your norm? By embracing softness. Treat yourself with compassion and kindness. Create a list of healing experiences that make you feel nurtured, from meditating to catching up with a friend. Include exercise and healthy food alternatives to the comfort food you may usually turn to.
Focus on how you can change your point of view about yourself. For example, stand in front of a mirror and look for positive rather than negative attributes. “When you try to lose weight it doesn’t work,” Segal says. “But when you focus on what wellness means in your life, and you create that lifestyle and are softer on yourself, it does.”
Annette Dasey, Body + Soul – 09 March, 2014