How to Improve Negative Body Image
Body image is complex. A lot goes into it, and a lot comes out of it. Society’s impact on one’s body image is immense and, often, damaging. Body image makes up so much of how you see yourself. Someone’s body image can change so many aspects of their life. Mainly, negative body image can be painful and influence one’s physical and psychological health.
What Is Body Image?
Body image is the subjective picture of one’s body, regardless of how their body looks. It is common for body image to be so affected by outside influences that it becomes the main ingredient for serious diseases like eating disorders. One’s body image affects self-esteem, competence, and social functioning. It isn’t just about how you look, but how you feel. Body image is a big part of how people identify themselves.
Having a healthy body image means you feel comfortable in your body and feel good about how you look. Not only does this correlate to how you feel about your appearance but also your overall self-worth.
What Impacts Body Image?
Although body image represents your body within your mind, it is not free from influence. Your body is part of how people see you from a young age. You are told, taught, and influenced by a world that puts a great deal of importance on appearance; it is no wonder it is so critical.
Although hard to avoid or ignore, try to remember these influences are external. They do not make up any bit of who you are, but they may fog your view. Some of the most intense impacts on body image are:
Health: Being told only one body type is healthy can make anyone that doesn’t fit into that category feel unworthy. Although the BMI scale has been disproven and body weight is not a true measure of health, this is still a problem.
Family: How the people around you talk about bodies impacts you. If you have people critical of their bodies and the bodies of those around them, it affects how you see yourself.
Social Media: The impact of social media on body image is vast and usually harmful. The editing that looks realistic, anonymous comments, counting likes, and creating a perceived perfect version of oneself leads to an unhealthy body image.
Social Pressure: Women feel pressured to measure up to strict and unrealistic social beauty ideals. It can impact you before you even realize it.
Traditional Media: The media focuses on thin and young women. Whether edited or put through intense diets and exercise, that is unrealistic. This lack of representation leads women to feel the need to fit the ideal.
Mental Health: Having mental health issues like anxiety or depression or even having a physical illness can impact one’s body image through extensive worry, lack of worthiness, or feeling unhealthy.
Signs of a Poor Body Image
Someone who is experiencing poor body image may show such feelings through:
Obsessions with one’ appearance and small flaws
Viewing oneself as unattractive or ugly
Fearing other’s opinions
Attempting to be “perfect”
Avoiding social engagements
Constantly comparing one’s appearance with others
Pursuing cosmetic procedures, dangerous diets, or intense exercise regimes
Needs reassurance from others
Dangers of a Negative Body Image
Having a negative body image isn’t just a minor problem, it affects so many aspects of life and can be dangerous. Those with negative thoughts about their bodies are more likely to develop certain mental health conditions and eating disorders.
Having a negative body image can also manifest itself into low self-esteem in other areas of life. You may doubt your abilities at work, school, or in relationships because of your feelings about your body. As body image worsens, you are more likely to participate in unhealthy dieting, overexercising, or other obsessive weight control behaviors.
While dieting is normalized in society, it can lead to serious physical health complications and is not sustainable.
How to Improve Your Body Image
Your body image is constantly in development and never stops. Just because you’re a certain age or at a certain point in your life doesn’t mean you can’t change how you see yourself. It requires practice, perseverance, a lot of dedication, and even behavioral changes. You can improve your body image by:
Unlearning all the misconceptions regarding diet culture, weight, size, and appearance that you’ve developed throughout your life.
Share your feelings and experiences with others who feel similar.
Nurture your body with food, movement, and rest that make you feel good. Respect your body and all it does for you.
Avoid negative body talk about you and others. Ask a trusted friend to call you out if you slip up. Try to retrain how you think about your body and others too.
Celebrate what you love about yourself that isn’t related to your appearance. Look at yourself as a whole person, not just a body.
Take breaks from social media and media. Find platforms that celebrate body positivity.
Exercise because it is good for you and you enjoy it, not because you ate more or feel guilty.
Change your goals; instead of losing weight or changing your appearance, focus on your energy levels, happiness, and fulfillment.
Surround yourself with positive people who encourage you and feel the same about building up their body image and yours.
Be your advocate. Shut down comments about your body. Let people around you know you are not accepting comments on your appearance.
Be critical of social media. Unfollow accounts that don’t improve your body image. Be aware of editing, lighting, and photoshop.
Take care of yourself. Practicing self-care reminds you of how worthy you are.
If you feel dissatisfied with your body image, it is time to do something about it. A poor body image can get in the way of you living your life to the fullest. Not only that, but it can lead to engaging in unhealthy behaviors regarding food or exercise, seeking help is key. There is a lot you can do to improve your body image on your own and with friends, but ensuring your health is the most important. If you feel the desired changes in your self-esteem, medical and mental health experts are here to help you treat eating disorders, mental health issues, and improve your body image. It will take time, but relearning how to love your body can significantly improve your life. Here are California Care Detox & Treatment, we will provide you with all the support you need to love yourself. Call us at (949) 281-0632 today for help.