When you walk around campus, what do you think about? Let me guess-classes, boys, friends, your future, money…and your body. Am I right? These thoughts swirl around in our heads while we walk/sprint/bike from place to place trying to survive another day of school. Since we’re surrounded by so many people when we’re on campus, thoughts about our bodies can become particularly LOUD.
I’m Sarah, a post-college girl dedicated to helping women in college accomplish their goals and feel peaceful while doing it! In my college days, hateful body thoughts attacked my mind the SECOND I stepped onto campus. In fact, they attacked me as soon as I got on the campus shuttle. Whenever another girl got on the shuttle or walked by me, I immediately compared my body to hers…which was usually thinner, i.e. “better” than mine. To me, thin girls were the ones who got attention from guys, said the smartest things in class, landed the best jobs, and did the most exciting things with their time. By the time I got to my destination, I felt like such a fat loser. Cue the food binges. Can you relate to this?
I got so tired of scrutinizing my body every time I stepped onto campus. Something had to change. Fortunately, I came across beautiful tools to make walking around campus a much more peaceful, and even fun experience.
Here’s what to do when you’re comparing your body to other girls’ bodies on campus and going crazy:
Breathe and notice your thoughts.
When you’re on campus and your mind starts to compare, take a deep breath. The breath will give you some space from your thoughts and return you to the present moment so that you can think more clearly. After you breathe, observe where your mind goes when you see another girl. What do you specifically think about when you compare your body to hers? Where do your thoughts take you? What kinds of assumptions do you make about her and yourself when you’re in that comparison place? Calling out your thoughts will loosen their grip on you, allowing you to begin questioning whether those assumptions are true.
Meditate once a day.
If you’re constantly allowing other girls to dictate how you feel about yourself, then you need to sit your cute little booty down and go within. Spend 3-5 minutes in the morning and before you go to bed meditating. Set a timer (I like this one) or turn on some music and just breathe. Breathe through your nose and out your mouth. Focus on your breath. When you still your thoughts by focusing on your breath, you gain access to your intuition, your highest self. She’ll show you exactly who you are and the unique gifts you have to offer the world. Meditating gives you a strong sense of self, making comparing yourself to other girls completely irrelevant. There’s only one of you in this world for a reason. Meditating will help you discover that.
Love her for more than her body.
Whenever you pass by a girl to whom you would normally compare yourself, send a little love her way instead. Find something other than her body size to appreciate –her hot shoes, confident posture, beautiful smile, bold outfit, etc. Spend 3-5 seconds genuinely appreciating that part of her. Do the same thing for the next girl. And the next! Also, remember, you have NO idea what that girl’s life is like and what she’s been through. Maybe you perceive her as better than you because she’s thin, but that girl could be dealing with major trauma. You just never know. So appreciate her.
See them as your sisters.
This sounds trippy, but you are intimately connected to all of the girls you see on campus. Start thinking about those girls as your sisters, not competitors. You and your sisters need to take care of each other. Comparison thoughts separate people (me v. her). But when you associate the word “sister” with a girl on campus, you start to see her as one with you. This shift in perspective extinguishes comparison thoughts immediately. When you look at other girls, say in your head “I love you, sister” or “have a good day, my sister.” This sounds woo-woo, but I PROMISE it releases the grip of comparison thoughts. And it’s fun to do!
You don’t have to go to war with your thoughts every time you see another girl. You can walk on campus with a peaceful mind, smile on your face, and no desire to rip into mass amounts of food because you feel bad about yourself.
If body comparison thoughts and body scrutiny are ruining your life, then sign up for The Happy College Girl Summit (it’s FREE!). We talk a LOT about how to get free from body image and food craziness. As soon as you sign up, you’ll get instant access.
Sarah Greenberg is a coach, writer, and speaker dedicated to helping women in college accomplish their academic and personal goals, and feel peaceful while doing it. She finished a very stressful and anxiety-ridden six-year college career in 2014 after receiving her Master’s in English. Now, she helps college girls navigate all of the stress and anxiety of school and life with ease.