48 Ways to Feel Beautiful (Especially When You Don’t)

Feeling beautiful especially when you don’t can be immensely challenging. It can lead to saying, eating, or behaving in ways you don’t like because you’re feeling ugly inside or outside. Here are 48 tips to help you shift your mood and change your perspective so you don’t stay stuck in these moments:

  1. Look at the unique expressions of beauty everywhere. You don’t look like other people, they don’t look like you. You’re unique. No one else looks like you (unless you have an identical twin, but even then, your personalities and expressions are unique). “Beauty” is often determined from media messages, culture and our hormones. YOU get to decide what beauty is to you, and you can keep changing your definition as often as you like.
  2. Aim for health, well being and feeling good instead of “beauty.” Trim your hair if it will make it healthy, lose or gain weight if it will make you healthy, use homemade skin creams and toners to keep your skin healthy, or eat healthy foods tobe beautiful.
  3. Move your body. Multiple studies show that physical movement (dancing, walking, hiking, skiing, swimming, running, playing fetch with your dog, etc.) can be one of the best ways to feel better and feel good about yourself immediately–especially if you’re battling with depression, anxiety, or ugly thoughts.
  4. Smile! Even if you don’t feel like it. Interestingly enough, just holding a pencil between your teeth and forcing a smile can send signals to your brain that you’re happy and improve your mood.
  5. Do what you’re good at. For example if English is your forte, write essays. If you’re brilliant at sports, don’t be afraid to join community teams. If you’re good at math, give yourself a tricky challenge to do each day. Doing what you’re good at reminds you of your value.
  6. Look in the mirror in the morning, smile and tell yourself how awesome and beautiful you are. Even if you have to lie. That may feel selfish, inauthentic, or untruthful…but it will reinforce the positive message to your brain when you smile and speak aloud while looking at yourself. Doing this at the start of the day gives you a foundation to go from into the rest of your day.
  7. Treat yourself. Buy yourself a smoothie, go for a walk in the woods, watch a movie at home with your friends, or read a new book. Do something that doesn’t involve how you look, and do it especially when you DON’T feel beautiful.
  8. Accept others for their own unique beauty as well. Just because someone is a different shape, size, or color than you doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve to have self confidence as well. Compliment people around you. If you do, it will automatically make you feel better as you gift someone a compliment. You’ll realize that beauty is abundant – around you and within you.
  9. Be friendly to others. The most beautiful person you can ever see with a nasty attitude isn’t beautiful at all.
  10. Create beauty around you. Whether this means decorating your room with nice lights or positive pictures from magazines, putting fresh flowers on your table or dresser, playing beautiful music or lighting aromatic candles or whatever is “beautiful” to you…surround yourself with it.
  11. Make morning luxurious. Make sure you wake up early enough to have a few minutes of luxurious self-care. It could be something as simple as doing your hair, painting your nails, taking a hot shower with scented oils or putting on your favourite song before you leave the house. This creates a beauty ritual to acknowledge yourself, inside and out, regardless of how you’re feeling about yourself. Going through the ritual to treat yourself to start your day will give you a foundation to set you up on the right foot.
  12. Carry something sparkling. A little glitter and glam really goes a long way for feeling shiny, radiant and beautiful.
  13. Eat healthy and nutritious food. When you eat healthy, whole foods, you’ll feel more in touch with yourself and the world around you. You’ll get authentic energy and power to shift your moods and feel good about yourself.
  14. Keep a gratitude journal and/or photobook. Look for the good stuff, the beauty, the love in your life. No matter where you are, there is always something around you that is beautiful, interesting or unique. This is ideal for writing a list of 5 things you’re grateful for every night before you sleep, to go to bed with positive thoughts and gratitude on your mind.
  15. Challenge yourself to find 3 things you’re attracted to in any given moment. The red skirt on the woman walking across the street? The clouds and their fluffiness? The tune playing on that commercial?
  16. Practice radical acceptance. No matter how you feel about yourself, the way you look, who you are, who you want to be – there is a plan for you and you don’t have to change anything about yourself. Trust yourself to know what feels good, what seems good, and go for it.
  17. Write a love letter to yourself. Send yourself love letters in the mail, take lots of self-portraits and buy yourself flowers.
  18. Share your soul. Give of yourself by smiling, sharing your wisdom, helping other people, be open about your struggles and problems, truly listen and let your love flow through your heart. Vulnerability is beautifu. There’s nothing more sacred that the true connection between human beings and life itself.
  19. Remember your posture. Stand or sit up straight. Hold your head high. Throw those shoulders back. Stand like you think a beautiful person stands.
  20. Focus on the best and compare only to yourself. Look for your favorite features about yourself. Compare yourself only to past versions of yourself. Comparing to anyone else can lead to an endless rabbit hole of self-depreciation.
  21. Be amazed at the wonder of your body. Your body is a miraculous machine that operates to keep you breathing, blood pumping and thoughts bubbling. Observe how wondrously it operates to house the person you are.
  22. Change “flaws” to “attributes.” You are part of the group of everyone else on the planet that is unique and has their own “flaws.” Emrace your flaws as a reminder of your connection to humanity. Flaws are the attributes.
  23. Be expressive. When you are animated and expressive, the fullness of your personality shines through. How do you express your inner wild self? Through painting? Dance? Prayer? Making love? Cooking food? Making gifts?
  24. Practice beautiful movement. Try dance, yoga, drumming or some other movement that is fluid and allows your body to respond instinctively. Tap into your instincts (or your “inner animal”) to get yourself out of your head and into your body.
  25. Don’t try too hard. Don’t overdo it with make-up or clothes. Don’t spend thousands getting surgery. Don’t exercise yourself to death. When you try too hard, you look desperate. It’s hard to feel beautiful when you feel desperate.
  26. Create something. Creation is the handmaiden of beauty. Creativity is beauty expressing itself through you. Paint, write, garden, scult, cook, sew, decorate, doodle — from small gestures in the sand to elaborate desserts or intricate quilting…give yourself permission to create.
  27. Inspire others. As the poet Rumi writes, “Let the beauty we love be what we do.” Do beautiful things. Live beauty. Living beautifully makes you beautiful in more ways than you realize.
  28. Stop your thoughts. It’s hard to feel beautiful when your brain is whirring away like a ticker tape with negative thoughts about your appearance or age. When you are trapped in those thoughts, stop yourself and shift to an activity that can get you into your body (see #24).
  29. See yourself through the eyes of a loved one. View yourself the way those dearest to you see you. How does your mother see you? How would the universe see you?
  30. Connect with the beauty of nature. You’re a part of nature…and just as beautiful as nature is, you come from the same atoms and minerals. Appreciating nature is a way of appreciating yourself and what you are made of.
  31. Listen to beautiful music. Certain music speaks to your soul. Feel your spirit come alive as your favorite song plays and you turn up the volume. Sing, tap your foot or move to get it into your body.
  32. Make love. No explanation needed.
  33. Wear clothes that fit you well and feel good on your body. If you aren’t a natural at dressing to suit your body type, age, and coloring, pick up a book or find someone to help you find clothing highlight the beauty inside of you. Adding a dash of color with a scarf, tie, belt or shoes can lift your spirits. Wearing an outfit that fits you comfortably and feels good on  you will look a hundred times better than oversized or tight shirts, pants or jackets.
  34. Hug often. Share loving physical touch with friends and family. Babies need touch to develop properly–it’s critical for their well-being. As we get older, we don’t lose our response to physical touch. It helps us feel loved, nurtured and cared for.
  35. Get enough sleep. You know what lack of sleep does to your appearance, not to mention your mental health. A good night’s sleep is a mini facelift!
  36. Stop smoking. It ages your skin, it smells bad, it’s bad for you, and it doesn’t reflect self-love. Dropping this habit will instantly make you feel more beautiful.
  37. Be outgoing, even if it’s hard. Initiate conversations. Show interest.
  38. Do physical work. If you have a desk job, sometimes you miss the beauty of a task completed with the physical evidence of your accomplishment. Do something physical like washing the car, raking leaves, gardening, etc. to see the fruits of your labor.
  39. Take care of your teeth. Since you are now smiling often, you want your teeth to look their pearly best. It’s hard to smile if you are embarrassed about your teeth.
  40. Cook a beautiful meal. Well-prepared, healthy, and delicious food prepared by loving hands is beauty for the mouth and the soul.
  41. Get Older, Feel Better. There is evidence that people feel more attractive with age. “Older women tend to shed their self-consciousness,” says Leslie Goldman, author of Locker Room Diaries, an account of her yearlong ethnographic study of women at the gym. “I have never seen a woman over the age of 60 scurry off into a bathroom stall to change or quickly scan the room before dropping her towel.”
  42. Take care of your hair. Wash it with a shampoo and a conditioner than suit your hair type and colour. Wear your hair in different way: natural, ponytail, with hair accessories, etc.
  43. Get a Pet. There are numerous studies that people who have pets live longer and happier lives than those who don’t. It doesn’t always have to be a dog or a cat, even a small animal, like a hamster, will make your life richer and better. It takes the focus of yourself and reminds you what pure, ego-less experience of life looks like.
  44. Get rid of people you don’t feel good around. You absolutely do not have to put up with anyone who makes you feel bad. You have an aunt who likes to gossip about everyone else in the family? Tell her that you don’t want to listen or don’t visit. You have a “friend” who sucks all your positive energy out of you? Stop hanging out with them. You have a boss who annoys you? Look for a different job.
  45. Take time for yourself. It can be challenging or feel selfish to make time to do what you want to do and to do it alone. But the time alone is extremely valuable to zoom out, look at where you’re at and where you want to go, and decide what’s working and not working in your life right now. Make time to evaluate regularly so you can become responsible for having everything you want in your life.
  46. Take criticism if it’s constructive, and don’t take what other people think of you as a threat. If external forces easily shake you into to doubting yourself, you are in a fragile state and need to be hyper-aware that you don’t have boundaries. People around you, both best friends and worst enemies, will always criticize at least some of your opinions and values. This is rarely done to hurt you directly…it’s actually more of a sign of interest. Taking criticism as a threat is a survival instinct of your primal brain (sometimes called your “animal” brain). However, if you’re conscious, you can realize that what other people think is not a threat but rather an exchange of opinions. No one’s opinion of you is any more important that your opinion of you.
  47. Think of your body as an instrument that performs. Is your body a static object to be gazed upon or a performing machine? While women tend to think about how their bodies look, men often focus on how well they work, says Stephen Franzoi, psychology professor at Marquette University. “If you think of your body as an instrument, you’ll see it as something that you can shape and transform,” he says. “This proactive stance shifts the locus of power to you, rather than to other people observing and evaluating your body.”
  48. Look at where your negative opinions about yourself are coming from. Being close to a judgmental person makes us view ourselves in correspondingly harsh terms. If you’ve come to believe that you’re unattractive, consider whether your partner, parent, boss or friend may have subtly steered your thoughts in that direction. If so, take action to set boundaries with this person or leave the relationship.

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