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Embracing Body Neutrality : A Path to Positive Self-Image

Body neutrality is a concept that shifts the focus from positivity and acceptance to the idea that an individual can exist in their body without being concerned more about how it looks. In a society obsessed with appearance, how can one maintain a judgment-free relationship with our bodies? For this, we need to know more about body neutrality.

As we read further, we will be more aware of this concept of body neutrality and learn how it can help lead to a more positive body image.

What is Body Neutrality?

Body neutrality primarily focuses on the idea that our body is merely the physical structure that helps us move through the world. Body neutrality is the act of taking a neutral stance toward our body, both physically and emotionally. It means one can simply be at peace with their body.

The term, “body neutrality” first emerged around 2015 when a body-image coach named, Anne Poirier, in her book “The Body Joyful”, explained that body neutrality is something that prioritizes the body’s function, and what the body can do, rather than merely its appearance. One need not have to hate or love it. Everyone should feel neutral towards it.(1) Anne began leading several workshops that aimed to help participants understand that loving their bodies is not a realistic goal always. Body neutrality is more than just a middle ground between hating and loving oneself. Thus, by 2016, the term gained huge popularity.

Body neutrality is more about acceptance, accepting one’s body as it is without any judgment or strong opinions about how one looks. No matter your size, shape, gender, color, physical ability, or capability, the primary aim of body neutrality is to help you accept your body as it is. Being neutral about your body allows you to dig deep and ask yourself about things that trigger your ideals about your body image.

How Can It Help Lead to a More Positive Body Image?

Body neutrality encourages mindfulness, which research shows can help reduce rumination, stress, and emotional reactivity.(2) Some researchers share that body neutrality can help lead to a more positive body image.

Body neutrality is the first major step towards body acceptance, as it moves us away from the negative and judgmental thoughts and feelings we might have towards our bodies. It invites us to understand ourselves as whole human beings first and allows us to accept our worth, value, and identity. Thus, body neutrality slowly takes us towards developing a positive body image.

Positive body image usually involves caring for own body, accepting it as it is, and being comfortable with it.(3) It also emphasizes appreciating the body for what it is capable of doing, rather than what or how it looks like.

Although both, body neutrality and positive body image are very similar and emphasize appreciating what our bodies do for us, the latter one involves more active care, respect, and appreciation for our bodies.

Pieces of evidence show that positive body image is linked with several benefits.(4) For example, individuals who appreciate their bodies are more likely to engage in health-promoting behaviors and adopt healthy eating habits.

When we appreciate our body or have body neutrality, it ultimately leads to a positive body image. Research shows that participating in embodying activities can promote positive body image. For instance, a study has shown that, compared to non-yoga participants, yoga practitioners had more positive body image.(5)

Taking Steps Towards Body Neutrality

Some of the steps to get started can be:

  • Accept and appreciate your body, stay away from any negative or positive talk, and allow yourself to simply exist.
  • Try some affirmations related to body neutrality that would help you make peace with your body. You can write these affirmations down or say it out loud.
  • Focus on various bodily strengths, such as your unique talents or compliments others might have given you.
  • Block any sort of negative self-talk or overtly positive talk about your body.
  • Do not be over-conscious about your diet. It is okay to eat when you are hungry and to stop eating when you feel full.
  • Choose foods that are easily digested. Also have foods that you enjoy.
  • Wear clothes in which you feel comfortable.
  • Exercise for attaining overall physical and mental health and not just to lose weight or look a specific way.

Final Words

Leaving behind specific ways of thinking about our body can be quite difficult for us and changing this mindset could take time. However, practicing body-neutral affirmation and accepting the concept of body neutrality in the first place will help us to look at ourselves and others in a new way.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 7, 2023

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