Guess which mindset improves body image and disordered eating?
Do you ever compare your appearance to that of other women? (Okay, trick question because there’s no way you can be human and never compare yourself to anyone, especially in our era!) But if you find yourself doing it a lot, choose to view other women with compassion instead.
A new study by researchers at the University of Waterloo is the first to “demonstrate that trying to cultivate compassion for others—by [mentally] wishing them to be happy and free from suffering— may, in turn, benefit one’s own body image and eating attitudes,” according to university reps.
The researchers instructed one group of women choose this mindset when they found themselves making negative judgments about their looks in comparison to another woman. Meanwhile, another group was instructed to think of ways they might be superior to the other women, and a third group was told tried to distract themselves to deal with the comparison urge.
The compassion mindset was the most effective approach – it not only reduced the degree to which women compared themselves to other women in terms of appearance, eating, and exercise habits, but it also improved their body satisfaction and reduced disordered eating behaviors.
So, you know what to do: Go forth and choose compassion over competition! Not saying this will be easy (it won’t), but it’s absolutely doable and worth it. Look at it as an ongoing practice rather than an achievement – again, you’re simply cultivating this mindset, not trying to master it. You’re not going to feel compassion from your heart every time, so don’t judge yourself when you mentally wish someone well through gritted teeth and with inner resistance. 😉 BUT you can make the choice to go with the higher mind focus – whether you’re browsing your IG feed or IRL – and keep coming back to it each time that green-eyed monster tries to rear its head.