If you ask anyone what physical trait they would change if they could, most people would easily come up with an answer because we all have things we don’t love about our appearance. However, as we get older, we accept our physical traits and stop wasting energy wishing they were different. This is harder for teenagers to do because their bodies are still changing and maturing. I constantly hear teenagers discussing their “flaws” and pointing out the physical traits they wish they had.
The other aspect of physical traits is that they go in and out of style. For example, I have a friend who has naturally muscular, toned arms. As a teenager, she was embarrassed about them because they made her feel masculine. However, women with toned and muscular arms are now in vogue. Another great example of this is hair. Teens cut their hair in whatever style is in fashion no matter if that is the best hairstyle for their hair type and facial features. As a teenager with wavy hair, I was desperate to get a perm. Thankfully, my mom said no to that one.
While all teens have some physical trait that is not their favorite or that is not in style, we don’t want them wasting their energy wishing they looked different. These three strategies will help your teen release these negative and critical thoughts and LOVE their physical traits, which in turn will boost their happiness and confidence.
Teens have thousands of thoughts a day and up to 80% of those thoughts are negative. A lot of self criticism happens while looking in the mirror. The mirror technique helps your teen remember to think more positively about their physical traits. As your teen goes about their day, every time they look in a mirror, they repeat their positive affirmations about their physical traits. Pick one from below, or help your teen make up their own.
- I look awesome today.
- I am beautiful/handsome just the way I am.
- I am grateful for my body exactly as it is right now.
- My __________ is/are perfect. (fill in blank with troubling trait)
Looking into their own eyes increases the power of the affirmations. It is also a great way for your teen to remember to say positive affirmations throughout the day.
Think Up App
Another great tool to help your teen quiet the negative self talk about their physical traits is the Think Up App. The Think Up App* enables your teen to record their positive affirmations. Then, before they go to bed each night, or whenever they need a confidence boost during the day, they can listen to their positive affirmations. The Think Up App allows your teen to set their personal affirmations to relaxing music. In addition, they can set a timer so the mantas automatically shut off. Listening to positive affirmations through the Think Up App is a great practice to boost your teen’s confidence about their physical traits and put them at ease as they drift off to sleep.
If your teen already uses the Think Up App then they can add the following positive affirmations. If your teen is new to the Think Up App go here to get started.
- I am beautiful, and I chose to release the desire to change my physical traits because I am perfect exactly how I am right now.
- I love and appreciate my body exactly how it is today.
- I am grateful for everything my body allows me to do each and everyday.
The Sandwich Technique
The Sandwich Technique is a form of the Emotional Freedom Technique or tapping that can help your teen release the negative and judgemental thoughts about their physical traits. (If you are new to tapping, you can learn more about the technique here.) The Sandwich Technique consists of a set up statement and three rounds of tapping. The beauty of The Sandwich Technique is that in under five minutes, it helps your teen release their negative thought patterns and replace them with more positive ones which helps boosts your teen’s overall self esteem.
The first round your teen taps on negative emotions. The second round your teen alternates between negative and positive emotions. The third round your teen taps in a positive emotion.
Step 1: Rate the intensity of the stressor on a scale from 1 (low) to 10 (high).
Step 2: Create a Set Up Statement. Repeat 3 times while tapping on the karate chop point. (Pick one to repeat or use all three examples once.)
- Even though I really hate my __________, I fully and completely accept myself anyway.
- Even though I wish I could change my __________, I fully and completely accept myself anyway.
- Even though I wish I looked more like ______ , I fully and completely accept myself anyway.
Step 3: Tap through the 8 points three times.
Round 1 Phrase:
- I really hate my __________.
Round 2 Phrase: Alternate between these two statements.
- I really hate my __________.
- I am perfect just the way I am right now.
Round 3 Phrase:
- I am beautiful/handsome, and I release all my critical thoughts now.
Step 4: Check back in with the intensity of the stress. Rate the intensity of the stressor on a scale from 1 (low) to 10 (high). After one round, hopefully your teen’s stress has decreased and they are feeling more at ease. If the intensity is still high, they can continue to tap until it is decreased to a five or below.
While a certain level of self criticism is normal, for some teens the stress of not looking a certain way throws them into The Chronic Stress Loop. To learn more about how stress negatively impacts teens and the importance of helping them be more at ease with their physical traits, grab a copy of my FREE Stress Less Guide here.
*The Think Up App is free. The link above is an affiliate link, so if you choose to make a purchase within the App I get a percentage with no additional cost to you.
Originally published at www.claireketchum.com