3 Positive Body Image Activities & Worksheets

Positive Body Image: How to Feel Good About Your Body (+Worksheets)

How do you feel about your body? If you don’t immediately answer “Great!” with a smile—don’t worry, you’re not alone!

This is a very common problem for people today, especially women. With advertisements and images of a specific body type constantly bombarding us wherever we are or whatever we’re doing—on television, on our phones, on social media, on our commutes and while we’re out shopping—it’s easy to see how we can begin to feel bad about our bodies.

Building a positive body image is a good way to counteract this negative stream of images we are encouraged to compare ourselves to.

If you’re feeling unattractive and down about your body, read on to find out how you can improve how you feel about yourself. It doesn’t matter what size you are—you are always deserving of love and respect, especially from yourself!

Before you read on, we thought you might like to download our 3 Self-Compassion Exercises for free. These detailed, science-based exercises will not only increase the compassion and kindness you show yourself and your body but will also give you the tools to help your clients, students or employees be more compassionate towards themselves.

You can download the free PDF here.

What is a Positive Body Image? (Definition)

In simple terms, body image is:

“…the perception that a person has of their physical self and the thoughts and feelings that result from that perception.”

(National Eating Disorders Collaboration)

As this definition shows, body image isn’t just one unidimensional construct. It’s made up of four aspects:

  1. Perceptual body image: how you see your body
  2. Affective body image: how you feel about your body
  3. Cognitive body image: how you think about your body
  4. Behavioral body image: the way you behave as a result of your perceptual, affective, and cognitive body image (NEDC, 2017)

When your body image is positive, you are able to accept, appreciate, and respect your body (NEDC, n.d.). You won’t necessarily avoid feeling any insecurities or think your body is perfect, but you will be able to acknowledge any insecurities for what they are and believe that your body is perfect for you.

According to clinical psychologist and faculty member Elizabeth Halsted, there are three components to having a positive body image, or PBI:

  1. Self-esteem: valuing ourselves and believing that others appreciate us and enjoy our company.
  2. A positive attitude: accepting our strengths and our weaknesses, and avoiding three negative attitudes:
    a. Perfectionism: holding ideals or standards that are impossible (or next to impossible) to achieve.
    b. Comparing: making social comparisons with others.
    c. Being highly critical or judgmental: the more critical and judgmental we are of others, the more likely we are to be critical and judgmental of ourselves.
  3. Emotional stability: maintaining a healthy connection to our thoughts and feelings while also being able to share our experiences with others (Halsted, 2016).

Improving your own body image can be hard, but it’s certainly doable. We’ll describe some exercises and activities you can do to boost your own positive body image, or PBI, but this list from the National Eating Disorder Collaboration (2017) is full of useful suggestions on how to be more body positive:

  • Focus on your positive qualities, skills, and talents.
  • Say positive things to yourself every day (practicing affirmations puts this suggestion to use)
  • Avoid negative or berating self-talk
  • Focus on appreciating and respecting what your body can do
  • Set positive, health-focused goals rather than weight loss-focused goals.
  • Admire the beauty of others, but avoid comparing yourself to anyone else.
  • Remind yourself that many media images are unrealistic and unattainable for the vast majority of people (and even for the subject of the image, thanks to Photoshop!).

positive body image definition


Effects of the Media and Instagram on PBI

In a 2005 study of the effects of idealized media images on college women, researcher Renee Engeln-Maddox found that being presented with just three advertisements featuring highly attractive female models caused many of the women to compare themselves and their own bodies to the idealized images they viewed.

Even when participants used the critical processing technique of counterarguing, or generating counterarguments against unhealthy social comparison, they still experienced appearance-related dissatisfaction and internalization of the “thin ideal.”

In 2008, a meta-analysis (an analysis of the results from many studies) confirmed the relationship between mass media images and the internalization of an unhealthy thin ideal in women, along with dissatisfaction with one’s body (Grabe, Ward, & Hyde).

Further, not only do advertisements and targeted messages to consumers affect our body image, but the images we see of our friends, colleagues, and acquaintances on social media also make an impact. In 2013, researchers Marika Tiggemann and Amy Slater connected Facebook use to higher body image concerns in 13 to 15-year old girls.

The same study showed a significant relationship between internalization of the thin ideal and time spent on the internet. Later, researchers Fardouly, Diedrichs, Vartanian, and Halliwell (2015) found another link between social media use and both mood and body concerns in women; specifically, spending just 10 minutes browsing Facebook instead of a neutral control website resulted in a more negative food and more facial, hair, and skin-related concerns.

Although the most significant effects of media on body image and self-esteem have been observed in women, men are certainly not immune to the images of the “ideal” body. Men who viewed advertisements featuring male models or actors with the muscular ideal body type were more likely to feel negative about their own bodies, and more likely to feel dissatisfied with their own muscles (Hargreaves & Tiggemann, 2009).

Instagram, in particular, seems to have a huge impact on how we see ourselves and our bodies. Researchers Brown and Tiggemann (yes, the same Tiggemann from the earlier studies!) investigated the relationship between viewing Instagram pictures and mood and body dissatisfaction in young women (2016).

Participants were shown one of three sets of images: (1) images of celebrities on Instagram, (2) images of unknown, equally attractive peers on Instagram, or (3) a set of control travel images from Instagram.

Unsurprisingly, those who viewed the celebrity and peer images experienced a more negative mood and greater dissatisfaction with their bodies than those who viewed the travel images. This effect was mediated, or explained by, appearance comparisons.

Don’t feel the need to give up your Instagram account just yet, though—later research qualified this finding by exploring how the ways in which we use social networking sites affect our body satisfaction and body concerns.

Young women who engaged in greater appearance-focused activity on Facebook and Instagram reported greater dissatisfaction with their bodies and a more entrenched internalization of the thin ideal than those who engaged in mostly non-appearance-focused social networking activity (Cohen, Newton-John, & Slater, 2017).

This finding tells us that it is not simply the use of social media that leads to decreased satisfaction with our own bodies, but specifically appearance-related social media usage. When we compare ourselves to the “ideal” bodies we see on Instagram, we generally experience greater dissatisfaction with ourselves.

positive body image avoiding social media


How to Feel Good About Your Body

Luckily, research has also found effective ways to negate or reduce the ill effects of media on body image.

The biggest thing you can do to feel better about your body is to work on stopping the social comparison process in its tracks. It can be frighteningly easy to compare ourselves to the bodies we see every day, in magazines, on billboards, on television, and now on social media. It’s a small step from looking at and admiring images of “ideal” bodies and thinking, “Why don’t I look like that?” or “That model is so much thinner than me.”

Although easy to do, avoiding these social comparisons may be the best way to boost your own body satisfaction (Posavac, Posavac, & Weigel, 2001).


How to be Happy with Your Body When You’re Overweight

Avoiding social comparisons is an especially good practice for those who are overweight since there is such a lack of representation of larger body types in the media.

If you’re overweight, you’re certainly not alone in your body concerns. In 2016, nearly 2 billion adults were overweight, or 39% of the world’s adult population (World Health Organization, 2018)!

While there are certain health risks associated with being overweight, and even more risks that accompany obesity, that’s no reason to avoid working towards a healthy self-esteem at any size. Besides, it’s possible to work on becoming more physically and mentally healthy at the same time.

The biggest problem many overweight people face when trying to get healthier, physically and/or mentally, is the vicious cycle:

  1. They gain weight.
  2. They feel bad about gaining weight
  3. They may initially try to get healthy, but eventually, have a setback and use food or inactivity as comfort.
  4. They gain more weight.
  5. They feel even worse about their weight.
  6. They are even less motivated to get healthy and more prone to partaking in unhealthy comforts.
  7. Repeat.

positive body image overweight

Similarly, when some people attempt to work on improving their mental health, they encounter a similar cycle:

  1. They feel bad about themselves or experience negative symptoms.
  2. They feel even worse since they feel like they don’t have control over their own mind.
  3. They have a setback or withdraw into even more negative feelings about themselves.
  4. Repeat.

And so the cycle continues!

The only surefire way to start getting healthier, physically or mentally, is to break that cycle. And, although this might seem counterintuitive, it actually seems easier for people to first improve their body image, then move on to improving their physical health. This is because when we improve our own body image, we can stop the cycle before it even gets to step 2 (feeling bad about yourself).

Recently published research confirms that having a positive body image can help you to be healthier (or at least to gain less weight in the future); a long-term study found that on average those with the lowest body satisfaction gained over twice the number of Body Mass Index (or BMI) units as the girls with the highest body satisfaction (Loth, Watts, van den Berg, & Neumark-Sztainer, 2015).

When we have a negative body image and we gain weight, we might think, “I’m so fat. I’m lazy and useless and I don’t deserve attention and happiness.”

When we have a positive body image and we gain weight, we are more likely to think something like, “Oops! I’ve gained some weight. I better work on making healthier meals and getting out more.”

It may be more difficult to cultivate self-love and acceptance when you are overweight, but you can do it if you put your mind to it! For some ideas on how to start getting more positive about your body image, try some of the worksheets, activities, and exercises listed below.

positive body image overweight


Worksheets and Activities for Improving Your Body Image

This list of activities and steps to achieving a positive body image comes from the National Eating Disorders Association (United States) provides several good suggestions to cultivating a positive relationship with your body, including:

  • Appreciate all that your body can do.
  • Keep a top-ten list of things you like about yourself.
  • Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin-deep.
  • Look at yourself as a whole person.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Shut down those voices in your head that tell you your body is not “right” or that you are a “bad” person.
  • Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body.
  • Become a critical viewer of social and media messages.
  • Do something nice for yourself.
  • Use the time and energy that you might have spent worrying about food, calories, and your weight to do something to help others (NEDA, n.d.).

In addition to general suggestions and steps you can take, there are several worksheets, handouts, and other resources you can turn to when you need some help. A few of the most popular and effective ones are listed below.


Building Body Acceptance

This resource is designed for people struggling from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, or BDD. This is a disorder in which the sufferer has an extremely negatively, and often extremely skewed, perception of their own body. However, it can be a useful tool for anyone who is working to overcome a very negative body image, especially when a fixation on a specific body part is involved.

This PDF will first describe assumptions, differentiate helpful from unhelpful assumptions, and help you or your client to identify your own unhelpful appearance assumptions.

According to this resource, assumptions are basically guidelines for how we live our lives that we learn through observation of those around us. We might not even be aware of them, but they still play a big role in our thoughts and our behavior.

Helpful assumptions are those that are realistic and flexible, based on actual evidence but able to be modified or adapted as needed. Unhelpful assumptions are assumptions that are the opposite: unrealistic or unreasonable and inflexible. For people struggling with body image issues, these are some common unhelpful appearance-related assumptions:

  • If people see the real me, then they will be repulsed.
  • If I relax my standards, then I will let myself go.
  • If I can see the problem, then everyone else must be noticing it too.
  • If people notice how awful I look, then they will be disgusted.
  • If I ignore this one blemish, then I’ll drop my standards completely.
  • If I look attractive, then people will value me.
  • If I don’t look perfect, then others will reject me.
  • If I don’t change my appearance, then I will never be happy.
  • If I don’t look beautiful, then I look awful.
  • If I don’t cover up, then people will see the real me and be horrified.

Once you have identified your own unhelpful appearance-related assumptions, the workbook moves on to adjusting these assumptions. It guides the reader through the following steps:

  1. Identify the appearance assumption you would like to adjust.
  2. Ask yourself “Where might this assumption have come from? Why is it still here?”
  3. Ask yourself “What impact does this assumption have on my life?”
  4. Ask yourself “In what ways is this assumption unreasonable, unrealistic or unhelpful?”
  5. Now, think carefully about what might be a more balanced and flexible assumption.
  6. Finally, ask yourself “What can I do to put this assumption into practice on a daily basis?”

To help you through this worksheet, there is an example completed worksheet you can reference. In the example, the assumption that the writer wants to adjust is “If I don’t look perfect, I look awful.”

To answer question 2 about the origins of the assumption, the writer notes “I was teased about my looks during high school. When I started wearing lots of make-up and spending more time on my appearance the teasing stopped. I guess that even now I am still worried that if I don’t look perfect, I will look awful and feel like I did during high school.”

If you’re interested in following along with this example, you can find it on page 6 of the PDF.

Finally, the workbook ends with some instructions and advice on following through. The reader is advised to keep the new appearance assumption handy, since the old ones can pop up out of nowhere! It’s also important to carry out any daily actions you planned and stick to it.

To see this resource for yourself or download it and apply it with your clients, click here.


Body Positive Image: A Weight Off My Mind

This info- and activity-packed 38-page workbook offers you or your client an excellent opportunity to work on your body image. It is offered in a journal format to help you personalize, customize, and fully commit to the exercises within.

Author Kristy Mudge consulted with multiple experts and organizations to put together this effective tool for increasing your body positivity, including the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Shops Auxiliary Health Promotion Grants Program, the YWCA, the Eating Disorder Association of South Australia, and the Headroom positive mental health program.

The workbook begins with a page you can use to identify the owner of the journal (yourself!), list the date you begin working on it, and note your reasons for embarking on this journey to body positivity.

Next, you will take a quiz to help you learn how you react to different situations. Your answers will be used to point you in the right direction as you start building up your positive body image.

Depending on where you begin in the workbook, you will then encounter several sections with advice, suggestions, exercises, and information to help you on your way.

For example, page 10 lists over three dozen activities that young people identified as activities that made them feel better about their bodies. The list includes:

  • Meditating
  • Laughing
  • Starting yoga lessons
  • Doing something childish (like making mud pies)
  • Getting a massage or a special beauty treatment
  • Singing along to music, even if you don’t know the words
  • Spending time with your family
  • Thinking about all the things you are good at
  • Trying something new
  • Writing in a journal

Worksheets and Activities for Improving Your Body Image

You will also encounter lists of things your body can do (like healing, shutting down for sleep, dancing, walking, skipping, and running), information on the art of belly dancing, instructions on identifying things you like about yourself, an explanation of why humans have body hair, and a description of body painting and how it can be a healing and even cathartic experience.

The workbook also includes a set of mantras you can use to boost your body positivity, like:

  • I have a right to occupy space in this world.
  • Today is a good day to be alive.
  • I love my body.
  • My body deserves to be nourished.
  • I am a good person.
  • I am loved.
  • Food is not the enemy.
  • No food is naughty.
  • I’m beautiful inside and out.
  • Guilt is a waste of time.
  • I love and accept myself.

You can also develop some of your own mantras on the next page.

Another useful exercise comes from page 25, in which the reader is presented with a difficult, but potentially impactful and rewarding, one-week challenge:

  1. Keep track of how many times you hear someone talk about dieting or weight.
  2. If someone tries to draw you into a conversation about weight or dieting, change the topic or find an excuse to leave the conversation.
  3. Think about what you are saying to other people and keep focused. If you find yourself talking about weight or dieting change the topic.
  4. Tell other people about your personal challenge and encourage them to give it a go too.
  5. At the end of the week, tally up how many times you heard someone talking negatively about their body and how many times (if at all) you talked negatively about your own body.
  6. Consider whether you feel better about your body after a week without negative body talk. You may like to take the challenge for a second week to see if you can improve your focus.

Keep scrolling and you’ll find quotes, personal stories, poems, and instructions on using yoga to improve your physical and mental health, as well as encourage a healthy body image.

To see Kristy Mudge’s excellent tool for supporting a healthy sense of self-esteem and a positive relationship with your body, click here.


Body Worksheet for Kids and Adults

This worksheet is intended for children, but it can be just as useful for adults. Completing it should help you or your client to start or continue the journey to a healthy sense of self-esteem.

In the middle of the worksheet is an outline of a person with a big red heart on the chest. This image should help you keep the point of the exercise in mind—to love and appreciate your body instead of picking out flaws or focusing on things you don’t like about it.

There are four sections to the worksheet with space to write down five things in each. The four sections are:

  1. What my body does for me
  2. What I love about my body
  3. What’s unique about me
  4. What I can do to help it stay strong and healthy

Try to really give this exercise your full attention and engagement. The more heart you put into filling in the blanks, the greater impact it can have on your body image.

To download this worksheet and use it for yourself or with your clients, click here.


Positive Body Image & Affirmations: A Good Idea?

Many people have found affirmations to be effective for addressing or managing a wide variety of issues, and PBI is no different. Positive, healthy affirmations can help you build a better body image, enhance your self-esteem, and boost your love, compassion, and respect for yourself.

Click here to see a list of 101 affirmations to promote body positivity. The list is intended for those suffering from an eating disorder, but the affirmations are great for anyone who is struggling to feel good about their body. Some example affirmations from this list include:

  • My body deserves love.
  • I feed my body healthy nourishing food and give it healthy nourishing exercise because it deserves to be taken care of.
  • As long as I am good, kind, and hold myself with integrity, it doesn’t matter what other people think of me.
  • When I compare myself to others, I destroy myself, I don’t want to destroy myself so I’ll just continue on my journey, not worrying about other people’s journeys.
  • Just because someone looks perfect on the outside, doesn’t mean they have a perfect life. No one has a perfect life, we all struggle. That’s just what being human is.
  • I choose health and healing over diets and punishing myself.
  • Being skinny doesn’t make me good. Being fat doesn’t make me bad.
  • My body is a vessel for my awesomeness.
  • I deserve to be treated with love and respect and so do you. I choose to do and say kind things for and about myself and for and about others.

If none of these hit the spot for you, feel free to make up some of your own, personal affirmations. As long as they’re positive and rooted in the present, they’ll do!


Campaigns, Posters, & Advertisements on PBI

Luckily for us, organizations are starting to get in on the positive body image movement as well. Brands like Dove (with the “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty”) and Aerie (with their #AerieREAL campaign) are jumping on the bandwagon and promoting body positivity instead of constricting the definition of beauty to a narrow standard (although with varying success).

You can read more about the social media campaigns for body positivity in this article by Bustle writer Erin McKelle.

If you’re not much of a social media person but you’re looking for an image that can remind you to be more accepting and loving of your body, this picture can be used as a screensaver, desktop background, or even printed out and hung up on the wall as a constant reminder to cultivate more positive feelings about your body.

It’s titled “10 Steps to Positive Body Image” and includes the same 10 steps from NEDA that we listed earlier, namely:

  • Appreciate all that your body can do.
  • Keep a top-10 list of things you like about yourself—things that aren’t related to how much you weigh or what you look like.
  • Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin-deep… Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body.
  • Look at yourself as a whole person… choose not to focus on specific body parts.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Shut down those voices in your head that tell you your body is not “right” or that you are a “bad” person.
  • Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body.
  • Become a critical viewer of social and media messages.
  • Do something nice for yourself—something that lets your body know you appreciate it.
  • Use the time and energy that you might have spent worrying about food to help others.

To download this poster for your own use, click here.

For the minimalists out there, this simple “Love Your Body” poster may be all the reminder you need to encourage a healthy respect for your body. You can find it here.

This clever poster from the Now Foundation’s Love Your Body Campaign plays on the images we usually see, and expect to see in the media, to give a more powerful message: that a woman’s worth is far more than the numbers on a scale or on measuring tape. Click here to download this poster.

Finally, this image from Spark People’s campaign has a simple but impactful quote: “There is no wrong way to have a body.” – Glenn Marla

Click here to download this image.


10 Positive Body Image Quotes & Songs

Sometimes a well-placed quote or song lyric can make all the difference between giving in to our negative self-talk and challenging it. Use the quotes and song lyrics listed below to help you silence your inner critic.

Healthy body image is not something that you’re going to learn from fashion magazines.

Erin Heatherton

I think there’s so much emphasis on body image and results and outcome, but really what you should be after is to be healthy and to feel good about yourself.

Abby Wambach

We all have something about ourselves that we’d change if we could in a perfect world… nobody’s exempted from the realities of life…

Keri Hilson

It’s hard being a girl. There are a lot of body image issues that come up and I think the best thing we can do for our kids is lead by example.

Cheryl Hines

How to get a bikini body: put a bikini on your body.

Ellen Degeneres

To me, beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about knowing and accepting who you are.

Ellen Degeneres

Music is an incredibly subjective thing, and you may absolutely love or absolutely hate any of these songs; nonetheless, they all have a great message of loving yourself and your body, exactly as it is. If you simply can’t stand hearing one of these songs, try printing out the lyrics and putting them to your own music or just reading them to yourself.

“Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera

Notable lyrics: “You are beautiful, no matter what they say. Words can’t bring you down.”

“Confident” by Demi Lovato

Notable lyrics: “What’s wrong with being confident?”

“Beautiful” by Eminem (content warning: strong language!)

Notable lyrics: “Don’t let ‘em say you ain’t beautiful.”

“Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara

Notable lyrics: “There’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark. You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are.”

Of course, there are just a few of the many examples of songs that can help you boost your PBI. There may be some songs that seem like they have hidden messages, just for you, on loving yourself exactly as you are. As long as it makes you feel positive about yourself—turn it up and put it on repeat!


Best Books on Positive Body Image

Unsurprisingly, this popular topic has attracted many authors and readers. There are tons of books out there on cultivating a positive body image from researchers, experts, and everyday people battling their own inner critic. A few of the most popular and highly-rated books on body image are listed here:

  • Embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and Quiet that Critical Voice!) by Connie Sobczak and Elizabeth Scott (Amazon)
  • Mothers, Daughters, and Body Image: Learning to Love Ourselves as We Are by Hillary L. McBride (Amazon)
  • Positive Body Image for Kids: A Strengths-Based Curriculum for Children Aged 7-11 by Ruth Macconville (Amazon)
  • The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor (Amazon)
  • Body Kindness: Transform Your Health from the Inside Out—and Never Say Diet Again by Rebecca Scritchfield (Amazon)


Further Reading: Blogs and Articles

To learn more about positive body image, there are tons of resources you can check out, including:

  • The Body Positive organization website
  • The Body Image Movement website
  • “Body positivity is everywhere, but is it for everyone?” This USA Today article describes the movement up to 2017 and showcases some of the most influential body positive figures today.
  • “‘But I Like My Body”: Positive body image characteristics and a holistic model for young-adult women.” This article from researchers Wood-Barcalow, Tylka, and Augustus-Horvath (2010) describes a model of body positivity that can help us stay be positive and healthy about our body image.
  • “A Healthy Body Image.” This piece from PBS explains how you can encourage a more positive body image in yourself and provides good information for encouraging body positivity in your loved ones.
  • “11 Bloggers Inspiring the Body Positive Movement.” This piece from bodypositivity.com lists 11 bloggers who are great to follow if you want to keep up with the body positive movement.


Relevant YouTube Videos

If you’re more of an auditory learner than a reader, not to worry! There are several helpful YouTube videos on this topic that can help you learn more about cultivating a positive body image. Three of the most popular are described below.

This video from Bustle tackles some important questions about bodies, like:

  • Is it okay to call someone fat?
  • What is the opposite of plus size?
  • What is the point of the body positive movement?

In her TEDx Maastricht Salon talk, Ira Querelle gives a passionate speech on self-esteem, body image, and the body positivity movement. At only 16 years old, Ira makes a striking impression. In

this video, you can see her discuss what body image really is, how it affects people, and how to help yourself and others feel better about their bodies.

In this TEDx Jersey City talk, actor and burlesque performer Lillian Bustle describes how the media’s portrayal of women’s bodies can have a profound impact on how women see themselves, talk about themselves, and think about themselves. Watch the video below to see her talk about how to keep your self-esteem up, take healthy risks, and appreciate diversity in the face of a doubtful and even hostile society.


A Take Home Message

I hope this piece has given you some valuable information and useful suggestions on how to improve your body image, but most of all I hope that this piece has reminded you that you can love yourself exactly as you are. Whether you want to change your body or not, you can always start from a place of self-love and compassion.

In fact, you’ll likely find that you’re more successful if you embark on your journey towards a healthy and happy body with a healthy and happy body image already in place.

If you’re in the middle of a downward spiral of body negativity, please know that you’re not on your own, and your feelings are quite common! There are many people out there struggling with the same issues, and there are tons of places you can turn to for support and encouragement. I wish you all the best of luck in cultivating a positive body image—you can do it!

Do you have any tips or tricks for stopping negative self-talk in its tracks? What do you think of the body positive movement? Who do you turn to for support when you’re feeling down about yourself? Let us know in the comments!

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our 3 Self Compassion Exercises for free.

If you wish to learn more, our Science of Self Acceptance Masterclass© is an innovative, comprehensive training template for practitioners that contains all the materials you’ll need to help your clients accept themselves, treat themselves with more compassion and see themselves as worthy individuals.      


  • Brown, Z., & Tiggemann, M. (2016). Attractive celebrity and peer images on Instagram: Effect on women’s mood and body image. Body Image, 19, 37-43.
  • Cohen, R., Newton-John, T., & Slater, A. (2017). The relationship between Facebook and Instagram appearance-focused activities and body image concerns in young women. Body Image, 23, 183-187.
  • Engeln-Maddox, R. (2005). Cognitive responses to idealized media images of women: The relationship of social comparison and critical processing to body image disturbance in college women. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 24, 1114-1138.
  • Fardouly, J., Diedrichs, P. C., Vartanian, L., & Halliwell, E. (2015). Social comparisons on social media: The impact of Facebook on young women’s body image concerns and mood. Body Image, 13, 38-45.
  • Grabe, S., Ward, L. M., & Hyde, J. S. (2008). The role of the media in body image concerns among women: A meta-analysis of experimental and correlational studies. Psychological Bulletin, 134, 460-476.
  • Halsted, E. (2016). How to have a positive body image. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/contemporary-psychoanalysis-in-action/201602/how-have-positive-body-image
  • Loth, K. A., Watts, A. W., van den Berg, P., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2015). Does body satisfaction help or harm overweight teens? A 10-year longitudinal study of the relationship between body satisfaction and body mass index. Journal of Adolescent Health, 57, 559-561.
  • National Eating Disorders Association. (n.d.). 10 steps to positive body image. NEDA: Feeding Hope. Retrieved from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/general-information/ten-steps
  • National Eating Disorders Collaboration. (2017). What is body image? Australian Government Department of Health. Retrieved from http://www.nedc.com.au/body-image
  • National Eating Disorder Collaboration. (n.d.). NEDC fact sheet – Body image. Australian Government Department of Health. Retrieved from http://www.nedc.com.au/files/Resources/Body%20Image%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
  • Tiggemann, M., & Slater, A. (2013). NetGirls: The internet, Facebook, and body image concern in adolescent girls. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 46, 630-633.
  • World Health Organization. (2018). Obesity and overweight. WHO Media Centre. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/

About the Author

Courtney Ackerman, MA, is a graduate of the positive organizational psychology and evaluation program at Claremont Graduate University. She is currently working as a researcher for the State of California and her professional interests include survey research, wellbeing in the workplace, and compassion.


  1. David Bouman

    The “get here” link for the worksheets appears to be infected, since a phishing warning is triggered when clicked on

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi David,

      Thank you for your feedback. Our team are always working to improve the security of our site and ensure that we are only ever linking to reputable resources/websites throughout our posts. Could you please let us know which link appeared to be phishing? That way we can address it.

      Thank you!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  2. Abby

    Hello, great article but when i click the “get here” link to get the ebook/download worksheets, it takes me to an error page. Can you help please. Thanks

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Abby,
      Thanks for bringing our attention to this. We’ll get this link updated shortly, but in the meantime, you can find the resource here. I hope you find it useful.
      – Nicole | Community Manager

  3. Anon

    The irony of the e-book is that there is zero representation of any diverse body types. Welp. It’s not exactly helpful when you preach about acceptance, where you clearly arent accepting other body types. The pregnant woman has no stretch Mark’s, the bottom is smooth an cellulite free. The women all have average sized waists.
    It just seems very counterintuitive.
    What a shame, I couldn’t take it seriously because all I could do was fixate on the flaws I have, because these images don’t reflect any of them. For someone with a legitimate body dysmorphia, this is honestly dangerous.

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Anon,
      Thank you for your comment. Of course, the last thing we want is to recommend a resource that hurts rather than helps — I’m very sorry to read that this had a negative effect for you. I will float this past our editors and see what we can do or if there isn’t a better resource we can replace this with.
      – Nicole | Community Manager

  4. Jeanne Schultz

    Thank you for all the resources. Your work was helpful & uplifting.

  5. J. Ross

    Thank you sooo much for these materials! This website is a Godsend and I look forward to using in in my self-esteem group discussions. THANK YOU!

  6. Chang Winkelmann

    Nice post!

  7. Micheal Weakley

    I am a teacher in a underserved community in Mexico City – I teach a program called Global Studies as part of the high school curriculum, in English. I am looking for resources or content that can help me connect and get across to young boys about how they treat and how they can support women of difference shapes and sizes.

  8. Fiona

    Thank you, so much for this. It is truly enlightening and helpful. Your work is so impactful. ?

  9. Mia Schecter

    Thank you for all the great resources. am creating positive body image workshops for preteen girls. I am a girlscout and this is the issue I have chosen for my gold award project.

  10. Peter Finklestein

    The most damaging family to young women around the world has got to be Kardashians. From Kim to Kloe, these two (not the others) have done more damage to promoting a false and unreal body image for young women than any other celebrities. Kim and Kloe look like clowns. Their butts have been filled with so much fat it’s absurd and yet few professionals have the courage to call them out on this. It’s just ridiculous how phony this body image is and yet millions of vulnerable young girls are looking at them thinking, oh, I need a figure like this, not realizing it’s a figure that underwent liposuction that took fat from other parts of Kim and Khloe’s body and put it (several times) into the butttocks. Ditto, the plethora of other over the top uber expensive cosmetic things done….it’s not fair to NOT call this out for what it is so young girls don’t get the idea this is a normal body. This is a created and paid for body. None of what you see is from these gals exercising or just being naturally beautiful. It’s a false image damaging to many young women struggling with self confidence. It would better if Kim and Khole were HONEST about what they’ve done to their bodies instead of walking around pretending that they are normal natural people. So fake. So discouraging to see so many young women following this fake image.

  11. Marksilvester

    Thank you, sir
    Thank you for sharing the important information we have shared with people and we hope from God that God will get your longevity.
    I read your article in the head and stopped my work. All of them have got away with this information. And in the future, if any problem comes to me, then I will support your article and will advise others too. Once again I thank you for your day and your family will always be happy.

  12. Mouayed A. Radhi

    Thank you Courtney Ackerman

    • Courtney E Ackerman

      You’re welcome, Mouayed! Thanks for the comment.

  13. Johanna Ortiz

    Excelente, muchas gracias!

    • Courtney E Ackerman

      De nada, Johanna 🙂

  14. Caroline Lewis

    So much useful information and so many tools I can bring to my teen life coaching sessions. Thank you!

    • Courtney E Ackerman

      You’re welcome, Caroline! I’m so glad you found this piece useful.

  15. Jan Courtney

    Thanks for this great compilation of resources!

    • Courtney E Ackerman

      You’re welcome, Jan! Thanks for your comment!

  16. edoardo

    Thanks for this article, it’s a real source of rich information, great post!

    • Courtney E Ackerman

      You’re welcome, Edoardo! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it.


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