It is one of the biggest issues that college students have today. Do I look good? Am I embarrassing myself? How do other students view me? Self-consciousness is not an easy topic to discuss with one another, but we are here to start the conversation and hopefully help those who are feeling this in their lives.
It is a very big problem that has affected a lot of people and it needs to end. Too many times have countless men and women, struggling with their own self image, fallen victim to the likes of anorexia, bulimia, and in the most extreme cases, suicides. With all the magazines, celebrities, and TV stars that are thrusted upon us in our current culture, it is no wonder why we have so many body image issues. Just walking by a news stand in NYC and you could be subject to thousands of headlines, photo-shopped pictures, and plain old dietary lies that can lead to you questioning your body.
But look closer at those magazine cover models, or the men and women styling the latest fashion on the new york fashion show runway. Do they look healthy? Do they look like they could . . . say . . . do this? Not only that, but most of these “super models” lack every-day skills that most every human should posses (see: cooking, etc.) Why would you want to be like them? Ever watched Americas Next Top Model? A lot of those girls have some serious people problems.
Fortunately, though, we have a few Primal cures for self-consciousness.
- Dont judge a book by its cover. I know, I know, its a cheesy old classic line that people tend to forget. But its relevance here is undeniable. What is great about the crossfit community is that they accept you for who you are, and make you better. When I used to walk into my crossfit affiliate, I felt welcomed as the person I am, not the person I try to be. The crossfit and in some sense the paleo/primal community looks at you for what you’ve done, not what you look like. Your only judgment is based off of the effort you put in, and the energy you can give to others. I find this to also be relevant in sport. No one on my baseball team cares if I can hit homeruns its all about how I can add to the team. Society today has shifted from a performance based “judgement” to a results based judgement. This means that no one cares how you got there, they only care if you got there. When we start looking at each other with an eye for performance, rather than an eye for results, we will be a healthier community.
- “Lose your mind and come to your senses.” The Rawbrahs say it best. Sometimes people just over think things. I think we all need to take a big step back and understand each other. It is important to find time to truly “lose your mind.” Why is it so important? When we lose our mind by doing outlandish, sometimes ridiculous things, we better understand our ability to handle tough situations. I’ve been wearing vibrams and doing handstands wherever I can for about a year now, and trust me, you get a lot of looks. But that is okay. I encourage the looks, and the people coming up to ask me “what the heck is on your feet?” because I use the initial contact as opportunity. Doing crazy and interesting things is a great opportunity to teach, learn, make friends, be humbled, find love. These are all optimal attributes of a healthy mind, and great ways to defeat self consciousness.
- Try techniques such as meditation, Ty chi, yoga, etc. Not only will these techniques improve your body awareness, strength, and physical look, but they can also improve mental symptoms. Studies suggest that “Tai Chi may be associated with improvements in psychological well-being including reduced stress, anxiety, depression and mood disturbance, and increased self-esteem.” Making these techniques a part of your daily routine in college can really improve your quality of life. Try and find somewhere between 10-30 minutes a week to do some Yoga, Tai Chi, or just some meditation.
- Think health before looks. A recent Science Daily study showed that college students don’t think about health before body image. Instead, they would much rather attempt to attain the “perfect” body by means which may avoid any positive nutrition habits. This is one of the biggest mistakes that we have made and continue to make as a college community. Social stresses from the media, and what we are “supposed to look like” cause way more stress than help. Being healthy does NOT necessarily mean having a six-pack or looking like the Victoria’s Secret models in shop windows (which are heavily photoshopped by the way). One of the reasons that we push for a Paleo diet and lifestyle is because of its emphasis on health before looks. We want you to become a nutrient dense beast before you get a six-pack. It is time to change the thought process from “I must look good” to “I must feel good.” Because trust us, once you’ve built a strong Primal foundation, you will undoubtably get that lean and sexy body you want.