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A light pink journal is lying on a white desk framed by the green leaves of a plant, a gold pen, and a black paper with small gold hearts on it. The journal reads,

Gratitude: A Tool for Boosting Self-esteem

body image gratitude mental health May 29, 2024

Written by Madison Jaffe.

Fashion magazines, beauty products, and diet campaigns bombard us every day with messages telling us that we aren’t good enough. They project messages saying we should be thinner, more stylish, or have softer skin. We are told that we aren’t enough, but can fix that with the swipe of a credit card to purchase their goods. However, these products change yearly and the body types of the models advertising for the companies change over and over. In other words, the “ideal” body shifts each year so that we keep chasing “perfection” yet are never able to feel content because a universal standard does not exist, and each year’s “ideal” is narrow and unattainable. As a result, we continue buying products to satisfy the pressures of the media while feeling insufficient.

Despite diet culture and the beauty industry’s messages that we are lacking, we can combat low self-esteem and adopt a healthy body image by practicing gratitude.

There are infinite parts of life that deserve our gratitude: our friends, family, food, shelter, schools, and, especially, our bodies. Our bodies allow us to walk, run, dance, sing, play instruments, win sports games, write, watch TV, listen to music, breathe, and laugh with loved ones. How lucky are we to be able to do all of these things? Still, we have been trained to never stop yearning for new and improved bodies. 

So, let’s focus not only on why we are grateful for our bodies but also shift our attention to the other parts of life that bring us joy! We can work on this by starting every morning making a list of 3 things that we are grateful for and why they make us feel thankful. This helps redirect our focus to the parts of life that are full instead of those that we want to change. To create this habit, we can set a daily reminder on our phones. Gratitude is an upward spiral towards positivity and happiness. So, as we create gratitude lists more and more, we notice ourselves shifting our attention to additional things we are grateful for throughout the day. 

Harnessing gratitude for the good parts of our lives has the power to improve our self-esteem and happiness. Why not start now?