Concentrate on the best you

As you scroll through your social media feed, it’s easy to feel envy at other people’s honed physiques, gleaming white teeth as they smile whilst posing inside their perfectly spacious home gym which looks like something out of a magazine.

Sophie Mei Lan

We instinctively compare ourselves, normally to the people we are aspiring to be like, or even our former selves (hello, social media memories).

Comparison is the thief of joy, however, and we often compare ourselves using misinformation to feed our opinions which can negatively impact our own self esteem.

But we can transform these negative emotions into positive admiration or even a little bit of competition to spur us on to start getting back on track with our health and fitness.

We should applaud someone if they are doing what we want and ask them how they got there as there is always something to learn.

Although that can be easier said than done when you’re in green eyed monster mode.

To begin with, accept that you are only seeing a snapshot of someone’s health journey online and there may be many other anomalies informing the results.

When my doctor is measuring my blood pressure, for example, there are factors which may influence the results such as, whether I have been exercising and if I have had caffeine or not.

Social media photos open a whole new world of variables from body types and filters to back drops, lighting and poses.

Envy can be so debilitating that it leads us to escape through negative coping mechanisms such as over-eating or even binge-drinking.

Researchers, who call this envy ‘relative deprivation,’ said that people who had more hope were much less likely to feel envious.

“There is a lot of evidence to show that remaining hopeful in the face of adversity can be advantageous,” said postgraduate researcher Shahriar Keshavarz, from University of East Anglia’s School of Psychology.

That’s why I love the quote ‘only look back to see how far you’ve come’ - because it is important to measure our progression in life no matter how imperfect it may seem.

Perhaps you are stronger now in mind and/or body? Have you successfully addressed an unhealthy habit?

Then mapping out our own realistic health goals can be helpful in feeling more hopeful and in control of our situation.

I also find that gratitude can help me feel more positive, by listing the things I am grateful for when it comes to my mind and body fitness. What are your best assets?

Self-care can also be a powerful tool in taking back control over our thoughts because it reminds us that we are worthy of great things. Taking steps like taking a break from stressful triggers and doing some exercise can boost our feel-good hormones.

Such reflection and positive action to take care of ourselves can improve our sense of self-worth and our overall wellbeing.

Workout One:

Press ups x10, split squats x10 (each leg), back extension x10, hamstring walkouts x5, hand walk to reach x5. Repeat as many rounds as you can in 15 minutes.

Workout two:

Press ups x10, prisoner squats x10, mountain climbers x20 (each leg). Repeat as many rounds as you can in 15 minutes.

Mind Challenge:

Write down five things you’re grateful for every day.

Did you know?

“When we express gratitude and receive the same, our brainreleases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, and they make us feel ‘good’. They enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happy from the inside.” Positive 

Life hack:

Set one to three big goals each day that are important to you and align with your values. It can be hard to prioritise but try to pick up to 3 things daily and the smaller tasks will get done in between.

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