Lizzo is the embodiment of body positivity—a true self-love queen if you will. In a recent Instagram video, she shared a peek at one of the rituals she practices that help her cultivate her next-level confidence.
"I started talking to my belly this year," she captioned the video of her reciting positive affirmations to her stomach in front of a mirror. "Blowing her kisses and showering her with praises. I used to want to cut my stomach off. I hated it so much. But it's literally me. I am learning to radically love every part of myself. Even if it means talking to myself every morning. This is your sign to love on yourself today."
While a dreamy blowout, a dash of makeup, and a fresh manicure can certainly go a long way in helping us feel like the best version of ourselves, true self-love and confidence is an inside job. Body-positive practices, such as saying affirmations in front of a mirror, are tools that can help boost confidence and self-esteem and stop negative self-talk in its tracks. That's why we're taking a page out of Lizzo's self-love toolkit and learning how to implement this empowering practice, stat.
Ahead, mental health and self-love experts dive into what positive self-talk is, its benefits, how to implement the Lizzo-approved affirmations ritual, and other body-positive practices to try.
What is Positive Self-Talk?
Tiffany N. Brown, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist and adjunct professor, defines self-talk as the internal unconscious and conscious dialogues that occur in our minds. Positive self-talk relating to our bodies then intentionally incorporates thoughts of acceptance, compassion, and love towards our bodies.
Stevie Wright, a self-love coach and breathwork facilitator, adds that positive self-talk can also encompass simply feeling gratitude for our bodies and everything they do, such as breathing, moving, pumping blood, etc.
We typically pick up these recurring internal conversations about our physical self and image (both positive and negative) from words and statements we hear from our parents, peers, and those projected in the media, says licensed therapist Ce Anderson, LPC.
Benefits of Positive Self-Talk
The benefits of practicing positive self-talk are endless. It increases self-esteem, self-acceptance, and confidence in your abilities. It cultivates a healthy self-image, allows you to see other people in a more positive light, and opens you up to compassion, says Anderson.
Most importantly, though, it helps change how you feel about yourself. "As an individual consistently introduces and speaks positivity into their life, over time it is internalized, and it begins to shape how one feels about themself," says Brown. "Additionally, positive self-talk helps individuals become more accepting of their body, and it gives them power over the narrative they have about their body."
Positive self-talk helps individuals become more accepting of their body, and it gives them power over the narrative they have about their body.
Positive self-talk, in general, is great, but when you do it in front of a mirror (a method known as "mirror work") like Lizzo, it takes things to another level. "It allows us to get a clear reflection of ourselves and even see past our physical bodies and connect with our spirit," says Wright of the practice.
"Recent research has shown that those who repeat phrases in a mirror experience a more 'soothing positive effect' than those who do not use a mirror," adds Brown. "One explanation for this is that the effects of positive self-talk may be enhanced when we look into our own eyes and see our own facial expressions. Similar to how looking into other's eyes and seeing their facial expressions evoke feelings of empathy towards them."
How to Practice Lizzo-Approved Mirror Work
Here's how Wright recommends practicing mirror work. Fair warning: It may feel a bit awkward at first but just roll with it.
- Begin by finding a safe space, like a bathroom, where you'll feel comfortable practicing mirror work by yourself. Stand in front of the mirror and take five deep breaths to help you drop into your body and connect to the present moment.
- Next, take a moment to really ground yourself by feeling your feet on the floor and noticing that there are four walls around you keeping you safe.
- Once you feel present and grounded, Wright advises looking in the mirror and noticing your body's different qualities, and begin speaking out loud to your body with kindness and love.
- To take it up a notch, like Lizzo, Wright also encourages caressing certain parts of your body as you speak about them, such as your stomach, face, or thighs.
If you get stuck on what exactly to say, Wright recommends asking yourself: "What would love say right now?" Another starting point Anderson suggests is identifying the parts of you that you don't like or love and appreciating those out loud. "Lizzo expressed gratitude for her belly as it plays a role in her living and breathing," says Anderson. "Ask yourself: "'What role does this part of me play in my existence and how can I be appreciative of it?'"
Anderson also suggests elevating the entire experience by making it a full-on, self-love ritual with scents, lotions, candles, and music that makes you feel good. The key with this practice, Brown adds, is consistency. Make it a part of your regular self-love routine to reap the most benefits.
More Body-Positive Rituals You Can Practice
Making time for self-care regularly is another body-positive ritual Brown recommends incorporating as it makes us feel better about ourselves. This can include ensuring you get plenty of sleep and surrounding yourself with people that affirm you.
Journal Your Thoughts And Feelings
Taking pen to paper is another easy way to begin retraining your internal dialogue. "Effective journaling can also help to increase awareness of how one feels about themself," says Brown. "Journaling can be used as a space to safely and honestly explore your internal dialogue and what messages run in your mind about your body."
Stay Off Social Media
Mindlessly scrolling through social media can often cause us to compare ourselves and our bodies to other people. That's why Brown recommends reducing the time you spend on social media to decrease the urge to compare ourselves. And better yet, unfollow or mute any accounts that trigger those types of thoughts and feelings.
Wright recommends breathwork as a body-positive practice. "It's an incredible way to get out of the mind and into the body," she says. "It's from this place that we can really connect to our heart and higher self." Although you can learn many different breath patterns, simply taking a few deep belly breaths is a great way to center yourself whenever negative self-talk pops up.
Wear What Feels Good
Ultimately, the purpose of positive self-talk is to celebrate our authentic selves, and what better way to do that than by wearing clothing and makeup that makes us feel good. "I often encouraged people to wear what they like and what they are comfortable in, not what society dictates as fashionable or on-trend," says Anderson. "Listen to what your body likes and how it feels. If you like to 'beat your face,' do it. If you prefer lip gloss and a bare face, do you. Everyone has that thing that makes them feel brand new. Do that often."
Seek Professional Support
Lastly, if practicing positive self-talk feels like a challenge, you don't have to do it alone. Brown encourages people to seek support from a mental health professional to help them through the process of integrating more positive self-talk and body-positive practices.