Looking good, feeling beautiful and why you deserve it!

There are two ways to change your body confidence: change how you look, or change how you feel about your looks.
Let's face it¦ although we've all thought about what we'd like to change about our appearance (nose job, weight loss, tummy tuck, liposuction, and the list goes on and on) the first option is not always the answer. Losing excess weight and gaining strength will always make you feel stronger and more energetic - which is great - but it may not give you the increase in body confidence you need in the long term.

Perhaps changing your attitude towards your appearance is the key to improving your confidence; no matter what flaws you see when you look in the mirror.

Our recent Body Confidence competition on Brava Lingerie's Facebook page received some fabulous advice from women. But this got us thinking¦ how often do we actually tell ourselves these gems of advice? We previously posted about this topic here, but wanted to delve a little deeper¦ You may support the sisterhood by telling your friends how wonderful they look, but what's your inner-dialogue when you look in the mirror?

Many women are guilty of focusing on one part of their body that they dislike, struggling to overcome negative thoughts about their perceived ˜flaw'. Unfortunately, women are up to 10 times more likely to have a negative body image than men. But maybe this is no surprise¦

œIt's okay to admire other people's features but don't hate your own¦ embrace your assets and remember that your body is unique and beautiful, as it is the only one like it in the world. - Bree

One of the most harmful things we do for our body confidence is to compare our body to others. And this is made even worse by the air-brushed images in glossy magazines. If you frequently compare your own looks, success, and happiness to others who you think have what you want; you're denying your own value in the process. Remember that there are plenty of models and gorgeous movie stars whose beauty doesn't make them any happier. It isn't ˜how you look' that determines your quality of life!

œEvery single person in this world has that one special thing that makes them absolutely unique and incredibly beautiful! - Emily

So it's not what your body LOOKS like, but how you FEEL about your body that matters. Research shows that body confidence problems can have lifelong repercussions; dissatisfaction about how you look can affect your physical and emotional health. That's a high price to pay for being at war with your appearance!

So, how to we get out of this vicious cycle and increase our body confidence? Try these steps¦
Feel good to look great. Have you ever met someone who isn't incredibly beautiful, but who turns heads with her presence and charisma? It's no secret that if you feel good about yourself, you will ooze confidence and sex appeal. How we see ourselves is not a reality, but an illusion. Body image exists in our mind, and can change from minute to minute¦ accepting this is the first step in your path to body confidence.

Be positive. Look in the mirror and focus on the aspects of yourself that you like. Think about why you like these bits and shift the emphasis away from the bits you don't like.

Know your triggers. What makes you feel bad about your body? Identifying your triggers could help you rationalise why you feel bad when it arises.

Get active. Research shows that people who exercise regularly have better body confidence than those who don't. This could partly be due to active women being more ˜in touch' with their bodies, but exercise also encourages you to appreciate your body's abilities.

Look after yourself. Your body works hard 24/7 (even when you're sleeping), so it makes sense to reward it. Spend some time each week rewarding your body, by making yourself look and feel good. Doing this may seem like a superficial activity, but it's telling your subconscious mind that you care about your body and respect it. Try some of these rewards: stretch regularly, take a warm bath, have a massage, get a bra fitting, and learn to shop for your body shape.

The path to body confidence may not be an easy one for all of us to conquer; indeed it could be a lifelong journey. But it's certainly worth it! In a world where we're all different, it's our uniqueness which should be celebrated. If you see a woman who you think looks lovely, tell her so, but most importantly - love yourself.

œEmbrace your curves as a wondrous benefit of being a woman. Listen to what your loved one say to compliment you...most likely its more than true. Stop doubting and love choose to love the skin you are in. - Colleen

Read this great post by our guest blogger, Helen Robinett, discussing how a good bra can boost your body confidence.

What's your story? Have you made a conscious effort to increase your body confidence? By Lin Windram.