Many people struggle with body image problems, which can significantly impact their mental health. This blog post will give you some insight into what body image is, how it affects mental health, and some tips to develop a healthy body image.

1. What is Body Image?

Body image can be described as an individual’s perception of their physical appearance. This is how they see themselves, not necessarily how others might see them. A negative body image can be defined as having an unhealthy or unappealing view of oneself, usually regarding weight and shape. This issue may cause someone to compare their looks with others and become upset if they don’t meet the expectations they have set for themselves. It may even cause them to feel like they are not good enough because of how other people perceive them or talk about them behind their backs. Everyone has dealt with negative thoughts about themselves at some point in their lives, but when it becomes a lifestyle rather than just simple thought, you need help overcoming such issues because it can affect your physical health and mental health.

Women are more likely to develop negative body image. (1)The fact is that our society has an unrealistic view of what a woman should look like, which leads them to feel inadequate when comparing themselves with society’s expectations. Many women also have difficulty accepting their bodies because we are constantly bombarded with messages from advertising and media telling us we need to lose weight or get rid of any imperfections on our skin or hair for us to be attractive.

Related: 20 Tangible ways to practice self-love 

2. Body Image and Social Media

Social media has become a huge part of our society, and it seems like everyone is using one site or another to connect with friends, family, celebrities, or even strangers. While social media can be great for building relationships and making new connections online, it also can cause problems. One example of this is how social media encourages negative body image in young people. Studies have shown that social media could lead people to feel more dissatisfied about their body image than before they had an account because they are constantly exposed to images of perfect bodies, which can cause dissatisfaction with their bodies. (2)

Every day we see images of what we think we should look like through social media feeds. Our brain receives messages about our appearance from all of these different sources, leading to negative thoughts like “I look old” or “my stomach looks bad”.

As a result, it can be challenging for anyone who doesn’t fit this mold to feel good about themselves or their body image. It may seem harmless at first glance, but these comparisons have lasting effects on our mental health. If we can learn how social media affects our body image, we can work towards improving how we view ourselves and take action against those negative thoughts.

3. Body Image and Mental Health

Body image and social media

Negative body image affects mental health by causing low self-confidence or decreased quality of life. When someone does not have a positive relationship with their body, it may result in taking drastic measures such as engaging in risky behaviors that are not conducive to maintaining good mental health. For example, self-harm or substance abuse might develop as coping mechanisms for low body image feelings.

Body image issues can also cause serious mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression. Research suggests that people dissatisfied with their appearance have higher rates of anxiety and depression than those who feel good about themselves. Some people may develop eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa because they think they need to lose more weight to see themselves differently.

With the recent body positivity movement, it seems that people are more aware than ever of the damaging effects of negative body image. However, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding mental health disorders caused by negative body image, and many sufferers don’t get help. It’s important for people with these issues to seek treatment from professionals to get better.

Related: 45 Powerful Self-Love Quotes to Remind You of Your Worth

4. How Do You Know If Your Body Image Is Healthy or Not

A healthy body image means that you see your body as an amazing thing and not something to be ashamed of. It also means that you don’t have unrealistic expectations about how your body should look.

 

  1. You often compare your body to others and find yourself lacking.
  2. You feel like you need to be perfect in order to love yourself.
  3. Your weight is something that you struggle with on a daily basis.
  4. Your self-esteem fluctuates depending on how well your weight is going up or down.
  5. You’re always trying new diets, but they don’t usually work for very long.
  6. When it comes time to get dressed, you tend to go for baggier or looser clothes.
  7. There have been times when you’ve felt embarrassed by how your body looked.
  8. You avoid social situations where people will see you or take pictures of you because of how you look.
  9. When someone says something complimentary to you, it’s not enough to make up for the negative things that have been said over time.
  10. Whenever a mirror is present, it’s hard for you to stop looking at yourself and being critical about yourself.

5. Tips to Develop Healthy Body Image

If you’re looking for ways to improve your body image, here are some tips to help with body image issues.

  1. Be kind to yourself. It can be really easy for us to beat ourselves up, but that never helps anything. Remember that there are always good things about you, and spend time focusing on those instead of negative thoughts or feelings.
  2. Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself.
  3. Increase activity levels: Focus on activities that promote a healthy lifestyle like yoga or running. You feel better about yourself by staying active. Studies show that exercise can actually help improve your mood.
  4. Use body positive affirmations. They serve as tools to help us feel better about our looks rather than dwelling on what we see as flaws because they remind us how amazing we really are.
  5. Try journaling. Journaling every day can help improve self-esteem and body image because writing down what you appreciate about yourself will help you focus on all of the positive characteristics that make up who you are as a person. With this in mind, here are some body-positive journal prompts for starting.
  6. Body positive quotes are the new way to get your body confidence up. They will help you self-reflect and motivate you to be better. Here are  55 positive quotes about body image.
  7. Social media can cause you to compare yourself to others, find faults with your body, and create an unrealistic sense of expectations for yourself. Taking a break from social media may be just what you need to improve your body image.
  8. Find hobbies or activities that help you de-stress and keep your mind off negative thoughts like cooking, gardening.
  9. Wear clothes that make you feel good about yourself.
  10. It’s hard to admit that you don’t feel good about yourself. You may not know where to start or how to get help without feeling ashamed. Seeking professional help is an excellent idea. A therapist can offer guidance and support and teach useful skills that will stick with you long after therapy has ended.

Related: 75 Powerful Self-Love Affirmations

Finding a body image therapist

You can find a body image therapist on Psychology Today. Use your city name or zip code. You will get a list of therapists. Try going through the list to see which one might be a good fit for you.

Final Thoughts

Body image is something that we should all be more conscious about. I believe that talking more openly about this topic will help people better understand what they can do to improve their self-image and self-esteem if they struggle with either one of these issues.

It’s important to remember that everyone has their individual preferences for their bodies, which others should respect. Our society needs to work towards promoting self-acceptance rather than shaming those who don’t fit into an arbitrary mold. We all deserve respect and dignity without judging our worth based on our appearance or how we dress.

References

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00223980209604820
  2. https://online.king.edu/news/social-media-and-body-image/
  3.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6861923/
  4. https://online.king.edu/news/social-media-and-body-image/
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About the Author

Hermione M.

My name is Hermione. I am the founder of WomenH and I write about women's health, wellness, mental health, and personal growth. I created this platform to inspire women to take care of themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally to become their best selves. Thank you for stopping by.

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