Feeling down about your body? This study says try compassion instead of comparison.

As a mom of two daughters, I know that body comparisons start early.

My husband and I have tried really hard to instill a healthy body image into our children. We focus on health and what our bodies can do instead of what they look like. We try not to disparage our own physical appearance and strive to be an example of loving the bodies we're in.

But society's body-shaming messages still filter through. I've had to stop my daughters when they start comparing themselves to others. And admittedly, even I have a hard time not internally grumbling about Jillian Michaels' six-pack when I'm doing one of her workouts.


Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images.

A new study says that we can transform our own body image by transforming the way we think.

Researchers at University of Waterloo have found that women can improve their body image and create less disordered eating habits by changing their mindset from competitiveness to compassion.

According to the study's press release, which was published in the journal Body Image, "The study found that comparison-focused women who deliberately exercise compassion towards the females they compare themselves to experience less body dissatisfaction, a lower motivation to diet, and a reduced tendency to compare their appearance to those around them."

Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images.

“Making comparisons with one another comes naturally to us, and in modern society, that is especially common when it comes to women and their bodies,” said Kiruthiha Vimalakanthan, a co-author of the study. But those comparisons tend to make us feel badly about ourselves.

Instead of comparison and competition, we should focus on compassion and connection.

Participants in the study, which involved 120 females of diverse ethnicities, were split into three groups and asked to engage in self-help strategies to combat negative body comparisons. One group was coached to use a "competitive" mindset, thinking of ways they were superior to the target of their comparison. One used a "caregiving" mindset to develop compassion and kindness toward the target. And the third used a "distraction" method to try to remove comparative thoughts altogether.

Of the three methods, the compassion approach proved the most effective at helping women reduce negative body comparisons. According to the release, "This study is the first to demonstrate that trying to cultivate compassion for others — by wishing them to be happy and free from suffering — may, in turn, benefit one’s own body image and eating attitudes."

We fare best when we feel less threatened and more connected to our fellow humans. So instead of begrudging Jillian Michaels and her perfectly toned abs, perhaps I'll try sharing sympathy for our shared experience of tipping over while putting on our undies. It's a start.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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