The “Dear Body” Journaling Method

Years ago, the primary journaling method was like that of a diary. At the end of each day, you’d sit down on your bed, turn to a blank page in your journal, and write down your day’s happenings along with any thoughts you had about them. However, it’s 2020, and now, there are practically infinite journaling ideas: bullet, dreams, food, travel, prayer, gratitude, possible million dollar ideas. The bottom line is that there are A LOT of ways you can journal, and it’s pretty cool if you really think about it. 

In this article, my hope is to introduce perhaps a new journaling topic/ method to all of you that I’ve been engaging in for the past couple of weeks: the “Dear Body” method. 

Before I tell all of you my story behind the “Dear Body” method, allow me to describe exactly what it is. Essentially, like a diary, you begin by writing the date. Then, instead of “Dear Diary,” you write “Dear Body” and show some gratitude to it for something it did for you that day. That said, in showing gratitude for your body somehow serving you that day, it is important to focus on the concept of “function over fashion,” where you think about something your body did for you, and not how it looked for you. 

Take me, for example: 

February 26, 2020 

Dear Body, 

Thank you to my stomach for giving me hunger cues throughout the day so then I could know to eat and nourish you. 

Much love, 

Ellia 

Alright, now that I have described the “Dear Body” method to you, here is my story behind it. See, I’ve always had insecurities regarding my body, especially with my weight and the appearance of my general stomach area. However, it wasn’t until this past year that my body has gone through some major changes. Essentially, I lost a significant amount of weight my senior year of high school, and after coming to college in August and calculating each calorie that inserted itself into my body for months, I began to develop a difficult relationship with food.As a result, my body itself and my sense of body-image became complicated once again. In order to make a long story short, I will just say that as I have been in the process of healing my relationship with food and my body and learning to accept and love both of them for what they naturally are, the “Dear Body” journaling method has helped me in appreciating my body for what it does for me and all that it’s capable of rather than shaming it for what it is not and how it doesn’t look like the models on the front cover of the magazines. I’ve learned that, with my body, there are so many things I am capable of, and once you realize this, it’s so freaking amazing. It’s like your whole view on your body changes. You’re no longer concerned about if you looked fat or thin in the dress you wore that night, and instead, you’re focused on your feet that were strong enough to hold you up on the dance floor for God knows how long. And when you focus on that, you become grateful - and that’s a great place to be. black and white bodyHere’s some ideas to get you thinking: 

Perhaps, you are thankful for your legs for managing to get your already exhausted body to and from your classes across campus that day. 

Or maybe you are thankful for your stomach because its growling reminded you that you hadn’t eaten that day and it was already 3pm. 

Or you are thankful for your arms because without them and their strength, you wouldn’t have been able to lift those weights at the gym that morning. 

Lastly, it is possible that you can’t think of any specific part of your body that you are thankful for that day, but maybe you’re just grateful that you have your body to stick by you and allow you to at least show up for yourself and others everyday. 

Something different to think about, eh? 

Our culture has taught us to admire our bodies based off of their shapes, sizes, and perceived degrees of attractiveness, and it’s time that we rebel and appreciate our bodies for what they are and the infinite things they are capable of doing for us. Believe me, I know what it’s like to be body-insecure because of appearance, and it sucks. To the person reading this and thinking that it’s not possible to love your body without loving how it looks, I urge you to think function over fashion. Naturally, my stomach is often the first thing I look at in the mirror in the morning, and though I am working on this not being the case, there are still days where I feel insecure about how it looks, In the end, my stomach is there for me and allows me to digest yummy foods and feel satiated and satisfied. In this case scenario, since I’ve began realizing this, my relationship with my stomach has improved and I’m not so hung up on its day to day appearance like I was a few months ago. 

To my stomach: I may not always like how you look, but thank you for always showing up for me. 

Yes, these things may sound weird, but try it, and see if they work for you. Remember, your body is more than its looks. Your body is what gives you the opportunities to walk, run, jump, dance, hug, kiss, taste, smell, see, and even sleep. Amazing, right? Please, with everything our bodies do for us, give them some love. 

Again, with everything our bodies do for us, give them some love.