Take off all your clothes and stand in front of a full-length mirror. Look at yourself. Keep looking. Look at everything. Observe what thoughts and judgments arise about yourself, then let go of all those opinions. See yourself as you are, without pretense, without masks, without defense. Keep looking; look long into your own eyes, but don’t stay there the whole time. Bring compassion to this person. Keep looking, especially if you are tempted to turn away in boredom or disgust. Allow yourself plenty of time to do this, otherwise you may stop before receiving the full benefit of this exercise. Write down what you learned about yourself as you looked in the mirror.
Watch your language for ways in which you betray a sense of dissociation from, or hatred of, your body. Change your words from judgmental or condemnatory ones—“There goes that damn back, again”—to simple statements of fact—“My back hurts.” If these feelings of self-deprecation are consistent and strong, get help from a counselor or therapist.
Body awareness and appreciation are integral to simple wellness. Refer back to this section as you continue working with the topics that follow.
Reprinted with permission, from Simply Well by John W. Travis, MD, & Regina Sara Ryan. Copyright 2001. Celestial Arts, Berkeley, CA.
The online version of Dr. Travis' Wellness Inventory may be accessed at (www.WellPeople.com). The Wellness Inventory may also be licensed by coaches, health and wellness professionals, and organizations.