I recently formulated my new weight reduction programme to fit with the evidence-based perspective that I have today and for it to work exclusively within my own sphere of professional competence – that is, it deals purely with psychological factors and does not give nutritional advice or personal training/exercise advice. What was so fascinating while I was putting the programme together and examining the research, was what the evidence suggested about the way we perceive ourselves and how it affects our ability to change our body shape – be it reducing our weight or putting weight on if needed (if there is an eating disorder, for example).
Therefore, a very recent study piqued my interest. It was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Waterloo and the results were published in the Body Image journal. It was very interesting and demonstrated the value and benefit to be had from accepting ourselves – flaws, quirks and all – with a sense of deep self-compassion. The study suggests that if we look upon ourselves in the same way that we do other loved ones or close friends, with kindness, compassion and acceptance, we’d be healthier AND we gain a more positive body image.
The study was conducted on Women only but offers important and valid points for men to be aware of too. The study results showed that women who have a good level of self-compassion also have a more positive body image, and this is regardless of body mass index (BMI). The study went on to suggest that women who were more accepting of themselves and were more inclined to embrace their imperfections dealt better with negative events, coped with setbacks more effectively as well as having generally better mental health.
This is part of a seemingly expanding body of evidence showing that self-compassion can offer many benefits to people. In a press release about the study, lead author Professor Allison Kelly of the Department of Psychology at the University of Waterloo says:
“There is something about a high level of acceptance and understanding of oneself that helps people not necessarily view their bodies more positively, but rather acknowledge their bodies’ imperfections and be okay with them,”
Professor Kelly adds that realising that life’s disappointments and similar struggles are a normal part of life, and perceiving them with kindness can contribute to women experiencing a more positive body image and healthier eating habits.
The authors go on to suggest that people having an understanding of self-compassion and knowing how to apply it may well go on to help alleviate eating disorders and unhealthy dieting.
The key points to be taken from this study and others related to it, are that it is beneficial and useful to learn how to practice self-compassion and realise that, L’Oreal say “you are worth it.” The following process shows you how to combine a number of principles within a self-hypnosis session to boost your self-compassion. Follow these simple steps….
Prior to starting, you need to have a few things in your mind. Firstly, think about and be able to reference someone who loves you and accepts you for who you are. If you struggle, invent someone and imagine what they would be like. Secondly, be aware of how you communicate with, accept, and encourage the people that you love. With a reference and awareness of those things, continue to step one.
You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my science of self-hypnosis book, use the free audio at this website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:
Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.
Imagine that sat in front of you is a person you know loves you and accepts you for who you are. See how they hold their body, notice the clothes they are wearing, and be aware of the details of this person. Tell yourself that every image, every thought, every detail deepens your hypnosis experience.
Most importantly, notice the expression on the person’s face and as they look at you, notice what it is about them that tells you that they love you and accept you for who you are. Notice those details and when you are sure of that, move on to the next step.
Now go and step into shoes of that person who loves you. Look through their eyes, feel with their heart, hear with their ears.
Look back at you through that person’s eyes. Notice how they see you, notice how they love you and accept you and become really aware of how that feels to experience that love towards you. Record and really notice in detail that person’s experience of loving you.
Be aware of and hold all of those feelings so that you can keep them, step out of that person’s shoes, return to yourself bringing all those loving, accepting feelings with you and then move on to the next step.
Having stepped back in your own shoes, now imagine looking in a mirror and seeing your reflection. With all those wonderful feelings of love towards yourself, view yourself with complete acceptance. Through loving eyes, note the things that you used to consider flaws and accept them. Know that they contribute to who and how you truly are.
Truly accept every aspect of yourself and be accepting of the person you see in the mirror on all levels. There might be resistance, but you’ll find the more you practice this, the easier it becomes. Once you feel that you truly accept yourself, or at least are being far more accepting of yourself, then move on to the next step.
Think about someone that you love and accept truly. How would you communicate your love and acceptance to them? What would you say, what would you think, how would you behave?
With that in mind, communicate that same way to yourself in the mirror. Express acceptance, love and encouragement to yourself. Then when you have done that fully, move on to the next step.
Now symbolically send love to yourself. Send love and warmth to yourself in the mirror. Perhaps you see it as a colour, or as a light, a glow, a sound, a sensation, a sentiment etc. Send it out to the you in the mirror.
As you do that, now start to receive all the loving feelings being sent, hear the message being sent via the mirror and enjoy truly accepting yourself and expressing some self-compassion. You might repeat a powerful cognition or affirmation inside your mind, some examples are:
“I accept myself for who I am”
“I totally and unconditionally accept myself” (EFT fans will like that one)
“I embrace all that is me”
When you have noticed a genuine, tangible feeling of self-compassion, move on to the final step.
Take a couple of deep, energising breaths, wiggle your finger and toes and open your eyes to exit.
Practice this process in hypnosis every day for a week to build your self-compassion. In particular if you wish to use this technique to help with weight reduction, then be sure to apply some self-compassion and accept yourself as you are in order that you become more effective at making changes too.
If you’d like to learn more or if this article has resonated with you in some way, then visit these pages:
1. Have issues or themes such as those mentioned here held you back and/or are they still doing so now?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason.
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others to overcome issues and deal with themes such as those mentioned here?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist for whom similar issues and themes are detrimentally effecting the success of your business?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
If you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar.