2018 has been the year of body positivity. Women and men across the globe are standing up to say, I love my body and I love myself! Or just as often, it seems, Sometimes I don’t love my body or myself, but this is how I’m trying to change that. And a few magazines and advertisers are doing less retouching, and highlighting a variety of body types. 

The jist of it all seems to be about encouraging self care and kindness (to ourselves and others). The movement comes as a reminder that taking care of our mental health is just as important as taking care of our bodies. 

With this in mind, we've put together a few tips to help us all spend a little more time focusing on positivity and self-love and less time comparing ourselves to others. 

Get Outside:

It’s a hashtag for a reason y’all. 

Oh, the Vitamin D!

The natural high of fresh air!

Neuroscientists have started tracking what happens to the brain when someone is outside, and apparently there is a noticeable difference between a brain in a big city street and a brain in a quiet park. A number of studies have shown that outdoor experiences can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

One researcher in Japan has even seen an increase in immune cells (the same cells that fight cancer) when people are in the forest. In turn, the forest service created a number of "therapy trails" to encourage walking.

The major point here is that engaging in outdoor activities can make us less stressed out and, arguably, more happy. And the happier we are, the better we feel about ourselves!

Join a #SportsBraSquad (Dudes, you can do this too)

The #SportsBraSquad was started by Kelly Roberts to encourage women to run in a sports bra (no matter what state their abs are in) and celebrate their bodies

The phenomenon has spread from coast to coast in the US. And though the groups are geared toward women, many are very inclusive of men who want to jog shirtless with the same focus on a positive and body-friendly mindset. 

If jogging isn't your vibe, doing a yoga class without a shirt might do something similar to what the Sports Bra Squad has helped so many people with. Regardless of the specific exercise, the idea is the same - one way to start loving your body is to stop hiding it.

And take it from a company based out of Austin, TX (it's currently 100 degrees out) - sometimes it's just too dang hot to have a shirt on. 

Surround yourself with positive people

The more folks you spend time with that focus on positive thinking and self love, the easier it seems to think positively and love ourselves.

Of course, no one can be cheery constantly, and everyone goes through difficult times. But it's helpful for our own mental state to make time in our social lives for friends that bring good vibes to the conversation.

This is another time that the Sports Bra Squad comes in handy. Running with a bunch of people who group together at the beginning of each run to talk about self love? Well that can really help start the day off with a positive mindset. 

Curate Your Social Media:

Let's be honest, most of us are not going off Instagram any time soon. But you know what can feel pretty darn good? A positive and honest feed.

We've seen a trend in Instagram posts toward posts that focus on empowerment and self love. For anyone that spends a decent amount of time on social media, whether it's for work or personal use, choosing to follow accounts that focus on welcoming messaging can help us steer clear of judgmental or negative thoughts.

At a loss of who to follow? Here are some suggestions:

Serena Williams:  A general badass who refuses to be anything but proud for her athletic build. 

Cameo Pierce: A Thunderbird brand ambassador and nutritionist who speaks honestly and openly about mental health and sustainable eating habits.

William Coleman: Will previously played basketball in the NBA and now does personal training in Memphis. His feed focuses on staying healthy, and has no shortage of positive vibes.

Jenna Kutcher: A social media goddess/ultra talented photographer who talks a lot about loving and accepting the skin we're in. 

If at first you don’t succeed… try again.

Want another overused saying? How about Tomorrow is another day.

Whatever your mantra, just remember that not everyone feels good about themselves 100% of the time. If I'm feeling low, I do something nice for myself, go to bed early that night, and start over the next day.

We all know that loving another person can be hard work sometimes, but loving ourselves is even harder. Progress can be slow, but damn it feels good when you’ve made some.

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