“Good Breathing” Can Be Harmful to Our Mental Health – Here’s Why


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The late 90s and early 2000s brought us a lot of trends that we now reflect on and wonder what the hell were we thinking. Like clothes that were neither comfortable nor functional. Including everything low-rise and a mantra to help us control our cravings so we can try to squeeze into the aforementioned ridiculous fashion.

You know who I’m talking about, the famous Kate Moss one-liner, nothing tastes as good as thinness. Yes, you read that right. Obviously, she had never had a slice of fresh dulce de leche cake on a hot summer day. Feeling thin> Dulce De Leche – I think not.

By sharing this mantra, Moss unwittingly became the star child of the #thinspiration movement. If you are unfamiliar, inspiration is thin inspiration. Whether it’s photos of models with protruding bones on the catwalk or “inspirational” quotes about food and your body. For example…

“You won’t regret being skinny, but you will regret overeating. The choice is yours.” – Unknown, Pinterest

“Junk food you’ve dreamed of for an hour, or a body you’ve dreamed of all your life?” You decide. “- Unknown, Pinterest

To the people who write and post these quotes, their intention is not to shame you for not eating, but to empower you to have the body you always wanted. Because we always wanted to be thin, right? Negative, Batman.

Conversations about body image and food culture have taken leaps and bounds… in some ways. We no longer glorify skeletal photos of women and call them #goals. Even the fashion industry has jumped on board in some cases. But now we’ve replaced #thinspiration with #fitspiration instead.

Fit inspiration. How Could It Be Harmful Well, it turns out that social media tends to reduce the concept to an aesthetic, not a healthy lifestyle. Thank you, Facebook and Instagram, you are the reason we can’t have anything nice. Much like #thinspiration, #fitspiration focuses on striving for an ideal fit body (Whatever) instead of keeping your body active and feeling good.

The problem with #fitspiration is that sometimes it’s less inspiring and more damaging to our mental health than we think. But don’t just take my word for it.

A 2017 study, conducted by Amy Slater, Neesha Varsani and Phillippa C. Diedrichs on social media, breathing fits and self-compassion found that “women who saw pictures of breathing attacks reported a lot less self-compassion after exposure than women who saw control images. images. “

The discussion continues by explaining that women who feel this may be better supported by messages of compassion towards themselves, such as the quotes that sometimes accompany pictures and “inspirational” posts. But any real “fitspiration” posts that you often see on Instagram? These are pretty gruesome for self-esteem, according to the study.

Damn, that’s a lot to unwrap. But to put it simply, when we see inspirational images on social media, they can negatively impact our self-compassion. This is more likely to happen when we see pictures of fit, well-trimmed women accompanied by words that make us feel guilty. You know, the ones who make it seem like everything about having a great body is a choice. To hell with pesky genetics and other environmental factors we have no control over. We feel bad for not doing what’s needed to make our bodies look like the ones we see in our streams.

Don’t worry, it’s not all bad news, however. The talking point of the study also highlights optimistic results. For example, this study found that “[w]Women who viewed a combination of images of breathing fits and self-compassion displayed more bodily satisfaction, body appreciation, and self-compassion, and less negative mood than women who did. saw only pictures of breathing attacks.

Ahhh. Yes! Genius. When we talk to each other nicely, we feel good. Like, “I train because I love my body, not because I hate it.” Well, isn’t that a radical concept?

Choosing to be kind to ourselves doesn’t automatically mean we can’t achieve the goals we have for our bodies. But there is a difference between choosing to move your body and exercise because it feels good instead of working out just to make your body look a certain way. And spoiler, it doesn’t have to be terrible, painful, or excruciating. You can honor your body by moving it without torturing yourself.

So how do you keep the inspiration in #fitspiration? We are constantly inundated with all kinds of images on our social networks. And now that summer has arrived, and we’re all out there (more than last year), there’s no way you won’t come across pictures of women enjoying the beautiful weather. That being said, you can control the type of images you see.

Do you still see pictures of Becky lifting weights at 5 a.m.? Wrap up her sweaty session with a kid-sized green smoothie made with kale, cucumbers, and all the tears she cried for a 2% body fat percentage? Stop for a moment and think about how it feels to see this picture. Do you feel inspired? Do you feel empowered? Or do you feel guilty that you never started a day at 5 a.m. and couldn’t imagine getting up to exercise at that time? * Raise your hand * I can feel you. Believe me. You’ll never see me up at 5 in the morning, because honey, there’s not enough coffee in the world.

There is nothing – let me repeat it, not a damn thing – to want to be fit and toned and in shape. But when it comes at the expense of your sanity and negatively impacts your body image or your relationship with food, it’s not worth it. It can take years to repair this kind of damage.

If there is content in your feed that makes you feel worse or inspires guilt or shame about how you look or what you eat, stop following it. Mute it. Blocked the. Do whatever you need to do to make sure the content you are browsing is living your best life. Because you deserve it and nothing less.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to live mine. With every ounce of my average body soaking up the sun in a two-piece I love – Hand Margarita.


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