- Posted by Jon Harju
- On July 29, 2020
Imagine what life would feel like if you were to stand in front of a mirror and only focus on what you love about yourself.
No inner voice hurling body-shaming comments or wishful-thinking lists being written up with things you want to change about yourself — all in search of achieving your dream body image.
‘Body image’ is a term that is used to describe how we think and feel about our bodies. Our thoughts and feelings can impact us throughout our lives, affecting the way we feel about ourselves and our mental health and wellbeing.
Body dissatisfaction affects everyone
Statistics show that poor body image can affect all ages, not just younger people, and the reactions it triggers range from anxiety and depression to suicidal thoughts.
A poll found that 57% of 18-24 year olds surveyed admit to having felt anxious because of their body image, compared with 30% of 45-54 year olds and 20% of 55 year olds and over.
“Body dissatisfaction is not only a common predictor of eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and binge eating but also can play a role in the development of depression.” – Bryan Karazsia, Ph.D., The College of Wooster.
Developing high self-esteem and self-confidence is something that does not come easily to many of us. Instead, we get caught up playing the comparison game with others that begins a self-loathing cycle.
Body positivity is about reaching a point where you accept your appearance – just as you are – your amazing and individual self.
Here are 5 suggestions to get you started on building up your body image:
No one is perfect.
Remember that perfection is an ideal and not a reality. Striving for perfection leads to feeling a sense of failure. When you’re stuck in comparison mode with an Instagram square or a person, remember you are only seeing the public version of their life and that people often only present the ‘good’ to the outside world as opposed to what they look like when they first wake up. That fantastic photo may have taken 30 shots and 20 minutes of editing.
Watch your screen time
Social media is linked to low self-esteem. If you are feeling low about yourself, make a conscious effort to reach for your social media apps less. Consider deleting the social apps that do not offer some positive value or try unfollowing/muting particular accounts that trigger feelings of insecurity and self-loathing.
Take care of your body
The foundation of a healthy body is to exercise regularly and eat healthily. However, having strict weight loss goals can be damaging to your physical and mental health. Avoid becoming obsessed with calorie counting and over-exercising. Instead, focus on the internal benefits you reap when you nourish your body with proper fuel and regular physical activity.
Appreciate your magic
It’s vital to appreciate the little things that make us unique and individual. Be your own cheerleader and take some time to write down a list of everything you like about yourself. When you’re having a negative moment, you can revisit the list of all your positive attributes to help reframe your thinking. As you build and develop your self-esteem, you’ll discover more things you love about yourself that you can add to the list.
Boost your own confidence
It’s nice to have compliments on your appearance from others but it’s more important that you feel good from within yourself. Don’t allow the opinions of others (online or in real life) to be your source of confidence. Ultimately your confidence should come from YOU. In a moment of doubt, refer back to your magic list as mentioned above.
Love and appreciate yourself
Body positivity is about loving and appreciating yourself every day. It means talking kindly to yourself, listening to what your body is telling you, and fully believing in yourself. It’s about being comfortable being YOU.
“People always ask me, ‘You have so much confidence. Where did it come from?’ It came from me. One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see.” – Gabourey Sidibe, Harpers Bazaar