Mental Health and Your Body
We do not exist in this life without our bodies, it is our one constant relationship. Because we are inseparable, our bodies have a real impact on and are impacted by our mental and emotional health. Our bodies are a key component of any recovery and healing. At the same time they can be the source of shame and trauma. A lot of our complex relationship with our bodies comes from the ideas we internalize ideas about what a body should be, do, and look like. These ideas come from a variety of sources including family, religion, history, and the unrealistic body ideals broadcast by the entertainment industry, advertising, and social media. A discussion around mental health is not complete without talking about the miracle of our physical bodies. This conversation will invite you to consider the messages, both negative and positive, you have internalized around bodies and the hopes you have for your relationship.
Let's Get Started!
Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate.
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Mental Health and Your Body (~40 min)
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..
- What messages around bodies have had the most influence on you? Where did they come from?
- How has your relationship with your body changed over time? What brought on those changes?
- How has your self-concept been affected by media and social media? How do you manage that?
- When do you feel strong and empowered by your body?
- How can society improve the way we talk about and consider bodies? What do you hope for?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
- What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
- How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group?
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation?