Susannah Taylor: Why your body is your best friend

As the curtains finally come down on this big dipper of a year, I’ve been looking for the positives. If anything great is to be pulled out of the wreckage of 2020, it’s that our wellbeing (both mental and physical) hopefully now ranks much higher on our to-do lists. I’m not going to tell you to go hell for leather into a hardcore fitness regime come January – I’m going to suggest you start with some gentler ‘body gratitude’ first.

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Having spoken to hundreds of nutritionists, fitness trainers and psychologists over the years, I know for a fact that most people have a very complicated relationship with their bodies. So we need to change the way we think about ourselves before we can stick to a wellness regime.

To start, let me ask you this – how often do you acknowledge how lucky you are to own this utterly incredible walking, talking, breathing, pulsing system called the human body? Look at your hands – have you ever considered how mind-bogglingly clever they are? Now think about your lungs, with their 600 million oxygen-guzzling alveoli that have the same surface area per person as a tennis court. Now go to your heart, keeping you alive with its super-slick valve system – have you ever shown it some respect? And have you ever considered how lucky you are to have a human brain – the unbelievable natural biological computer you got given for free?

Most of us take our body for granted (some even hate it), dragging it around, abusing it, throwing junk into it and then berating it when it gets sick or breaks down.

Statistics show that we spend an average of two hours and 51 minutes per day on a phone – how many of us spend the same amount of time being good to ourselves?

We need to befriend our body, understand and get in tune with it in order to believe in a wellness regime. You can start by practising body gratitude. Neuropsychologist Mara Klemich of says that when we’re preoccupied with what we don’t have (thin thighs, a regular fitness regime, a flat stomach), it’s hard to be positive about wellbeing.

To change your mindset, Mara first suggests a gratitude practice. This is a daily habit of thinking about (and preferably writing down) the things that you feel grateful for. If you then add in appreciation for your body, whether that be your skin, your favourite body part, appreciation for your strong legs, two things could then happen: ‘Firstly, you’ll begin to feel differently about your body, especially if you focus on its function rather than your perception about its appearance,’ says Mara. Secondly, ‘Practising gratitude makes you focus on the bigger picture, rather than the negatives.’

Mara suggests that you might want to begin or end each day listing two to four things – perhaps two about your life in general and two about your body – that you are grateful for. Gradually you can add more, ending up with five for each.

Finally, my big tip for starting to love your body is to learn as much as you can about it – the more I understand how clever it is, the more I want to preserve it. As motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, ‘Take care of your body – it’s the only place you have to live.’

See you in 2021.

New year, new flame

Just when you thought you had found ‘your’ candle (everyone has a preference, right?) along comes the Perpetual Candle from Heloise O’ Hagan. This interior designer turned candle maker has used soy wax and a cotton wick with eight beautiful scents, from rose geranium to orange, clove and cinnamon. My favourite part, though, is that they come in a stylish bone china vessel that can be refilled. £45,

How to sit still

Do you struggle to meditate? The answer to being able to sit still may be to move first, says Charlotte Collis from, which organises meditation classes online and nationwide. ‘Tension in the body is reflected in the mind and vice versa. The softer and more relaxed your body the easier it will be to meditate. So take some time to stretch, run or do yoga before you begin,’ she explains.