You and your body
Do you sometimes hear some people give compliments on your appearance, but you don’t know where they are getting these nice things? Or do you sometimes look at your photo and think: “this is not what I look like”. Your body image is many things. It consists of the way you see your body (in the mirror or the pictures), the way you imagine it in your head and the way you feel about it. Nowadays, body image distortion is among the most common mental health issues for teenagers and adults (especially for women).
Let’s look at some of the aspects of body distortions closer to be able to overcome those and come in more harmony with your own body.
Signs of negative body image
Here are some of the signs that could help identify (not diagnose!) negative body image tendencies:
– Avoiding social activities
– Extreme focus on minor “flaws” in appearance
– Regular comparison of own body with others
– Excessive grooming and/or intense make up and/or cosmetic surgery
– Avoidance of seeing the body/extreme concentration on the reflection
– Usage of harsh language to describe the body
– Constant search for appraisal from others
Causes of negative body image
There are many possible causes for such distortions to appear but most of them have to do with the past experiences or social environment. Here are some examples:
– Being bullied at school for your appearance
– Comparing your body to those of influencers (often retouched) and feeling bad about it
– Hearing negative comments about your appearance form your family/friends/partner
– Being underweight or overweight
On top of these general causes there are other factors as well. For example, age plays a big role in how you perceive your body. Another one is gender (even a bigger one really). Imagine, only about 2% of women in the entire world consider themselves beautiful!
Why is healthy body image important?
This is one of the more straightforward aspect. Even though you probably know some (maybe many) advantages of healthy body image we would like to still present them to you here:
– Better physical health
– Better mental health
– Smaller probability of developing eating disorders and depression
– Higher self-esteem (which can affect your behaviour)
– Better work performance
– Higher relationship satisfaction
And if all of these are still not enough to start working on your body image there is one more argument for you. People with healthy body image have a much higher general well-being, a.k.a. they are overall happier. And who doesn’t want to be happy?
How do we improve body image?
After having talked about all the advantages of having a healthy body image let’s look at tactics that can help you reach that amazing relationship with yourself:
– Practice positive thoughts
– Focus on your advantages not your “flaws”
– Concentrate on what your body can do rather than what it looks like
– Limit social media intake
– Explore activities that can show you the great things your body can do
– Surround yourself with loving people
– Find counsel in your friends
– Seek help when needed
The bottom line is, the kinder you are to your own body, the happier, more productive and healthier you are in all aspects of your life. So take the time to improve your own body image and encourage those around you to do the same!
Meanwhile, love your body and stay safe!