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How to feel confident in a swimsuit this summer (without changing your body)
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Five steps for feeling more confident in a swimsuit now, so you can stress less and have more fun in the sun. - photo by Ashley Palmer
Body image is a difficult topic for women, especially in the summer months when the sweaters and jackets are replaced with shorts, t-shirts, and, most uncomfortable for some, the swimsuit. In a 2006 survey, over 30 percent of women polled stated that they feel uncomfortable wearing a swimsuit. While that discomfort is certainly understandable, it is not enjoyable. Wouldnt you rather be spending time playing in the pool with the kids, sliding down slides at the water park, and enjoying the sunshine, than watching from the sidelines in a bulky t-shirt?

If youre like most of us, youre ready to enjoy your summer more and worry about your body less. Here are five tips for making the most of the hot months ahead, without feeling embarrassed about your body.

1. Wear what makes you feel great

While some are being applauded for being brave by wearing a string bikini, if you don't feel comfortable in one, you will spend your time in the sun worrying rather than enjoying. You will feel much more comfortable wearing something that feels good to you, so take some time to find a suit that fits well and helps you enjoy yourself, rather than something that leaves you feeling over-exposed and uncomfortable. There are all different kinds of suits to fit different body types flatteringly.

2. Practice thinking kind thoughts

Its easy to stand in front of a mirror and pick apart the things you wish you could change about yourself. But the more time we spend focusing on our flaws, the more of a habit it becomes to feel bad about those areas of our bodies. Instead, practice thinking about what you love and appreciate about your body every day, so that the positive thoughts come to you automatically.

3. Hang with the right crowd

If theres one thing that is going to make you feel more insecure about your body, its hearing other women pick apart their own bodies, or criticize other women behind their backs. Spend time with people who choose to see the good in themselves and in others, rather than those who cruelly judge others. You will feel more comfortable in your own skin; plus you will develop habits of positive self-talk.

4. Recognize the truth about bodies

It seems like daily we are bombarded with the medias idea of what a good body looks like. Its the cover of a magazine, the picture on social media, or the actress on the runway. Because we see this so much, we assume that all women are supposed to look like this. Lets be honest -- the girl in the magazine doesnt even look like that in real life; that actress starved herself for a week to prepare for the occasion; that Instagram photo was one out of 20 that happened to hit the light just right. Our societys beauty standards are flawed and unrealistic. All bodies are good bodies, and theres no reason to compare ourselves to the ridiculous standard set by popular culture.

5. Focus on having more fun

Summer is only a few short months. Before you know it, the kids will be back in school and the leaves will be falling. The next time you have a chance to spend the day in the sunshine with your children, they will be a year older; so get in there and play with them. The more you play, the less you will worry about how you look while playing.

Years from now, our fondest memories will be of the fun we had and the people we shared it with; and chances are we wont even remember which swimsuit we wore that year.