August 22, 2017

Both-And Thinking

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:00 pm by kellyfdennis

For several months I have been exploring relaxation, mindfulness, meditation, and the emotional freedom technique (energy tapping). Now I’d like to share with you a technique that combines some of the key elements of all these techniques. These are the elements from each technique that spoke to me as I experimented along the way. In using these elements together to create a visualization experience I hope will help you learn to accept or at least come to a neutral place in your relationship with your body as a whole, or specific body parts about which you find yourself feeling negative.

When a person body checks (squeezes his/her stomach to feel the fat, place his/her index finger and thumb around the wrist, catches a reflection in the mirror and changes something), they think it reduces the anxiety they feel about their bodies. However, in the long run it creates more anxiety because there is always the “what if next time it has changed?” You’ll find it more difficult to engage in this exercise, if you’re feeling anxious. So, when doing the following exercise, please practice some deep breathing, close your eyes and breath comfortably and allow your body to rest and relax.

As always, if your mind wanders, and that’s what minds do, please be kind to yourself and just notice where your mind went and gently bring your attention back to your breath. Perform a body scan, starting at the top of your head and working your way down your body, just noticing, without judgement, what’s happening with your body right now. This is being mindful to your body’s current experience.

Now shift your attention to your thoughts. What’s written on that “chalkboard” in your mind? What thoughts do you notice being written about your body after you just performed the body scan? Did you find it hard not to judge or criticize various parts as you scanned them? Now allow a thought about your body that usually bothers you to come to mind. “I have a thick middle” (or whatever your thought is).

Place your hand on that body part, breath deeply and say out loud, “Even though I have a thick middle, I completely and deeply love and accept myself.” If that’s hard to say, start with something like, “Even though there is this part of my body I don’t care for, I am working hard to deeply and completely love and accept my body just as it is.”  You can actually tap on the energy points, or just visualize it, which is what I have starting experiment with.

“I can not particularly care for a certain body part right now AND I can still accept myself just as I am.”

“I can wish this middle wasn’t so thick AND I can recognize that I’m still an acceptable person.”

“Every body comes in different shapes and sizes AND all people are worthwhile.”

“My middle isn’t what defines me.”

“Maybe I can learn to accept my thick middle AND love and accept myself.”

Then take a nice deep breath in, let it out, and smile.

You may have noticed that I changed some of the structure of some of the statements. Using the concept of dialectics, a person can actually experience the idea that two constructs can be true at the same time. To further illustrate take a look at these statements:

You are right AND the other person is right.

You are doing the best you can AND you can try harder, do better, and be more motivated to change.

You can take care of yourself AND you need the help and support of others.

I like to call this “both-and” thinking. It’s very different from “black and white” or “all or nothing” thinking. I believe it really helps us to validate ourselves and others, get unstuck from conflicts, and let go of troubling situations from the past because we can let go of assumptions and blaming. It can also help us to have a better relationship with our bodies!

Be Well and Have a Wonderful Day!



  1. treichert said,

    I like it! It brings all my favorite parts of each tool into one visualization.
    Thanks for yet another awesome resource for the therapy toolbox.

    • kellyfdennis said,

      Good to hear that you found it beneficial! Thanks for your feedback.

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ponderings on life, food, God, and love

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Do Not Weigh Your Self-Esteem on a Scale

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