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How Body Image Affects Mental Health

Image Affects Mental Health

We live in a world where people are judged by their physical appearance first and then by their accomplishments, education, and other personal traits that are in many ways more valuable. Unfortunately, this way of thinking has affected millions of young men and women worldwide, making them feel less worthy.

How we behave and visualize our bodies is unique to each person. We all come from different backgrounds, and our personality is shaped and influenced by various societies and cultures.

People tend to experience a negative body image when the body they wish to have doesn’t match the image of the body they actually have. But why do we seek perfection? This type of behavior is most prevalent among teenagers because social media largely influences them.

Having a negative body image leads to mental disorders, including low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and others. Now, let’s examine how our body image affects our health.

Unrealistic expectations

When it comes to body image, women are expected to have ideal bodies or strive for perfection. Sadly, when they fail to achieve this vision of perfection that society has imposed on them, they start experiencing negative effects and low self-esteem.

They are pressured all the time to fulfill unrealistic expectations, which leads to a distorted body image and damaged confidence. When faced with lower self-esteem, women are reluctant to go out, meet new people, or engage in new activities.

These individuals often feel lost, avoiding company because they believe they cannot fit into the crows they would like to be part of since they don’t share similar physical appearance. Low self-esteem is a powerful barrier that stops women, and eventually, men to see all positive aspects of their personalities.

Negative self-talk

Lack of self-esteem leads to a continuous feeling of sadness and negative self-talk. If you have never heard of this term, it means that a person is consciously self-sabotaging themselves. For instance, a person signs up for a group yoga class.

They are aware of their strength and endurance and know they even exceed necessary expectations. Basically, a person is confident until they walk into class and start comparing themselves to other participants.

Once this comparison and negative self-talk start, people will begin doubting themselves and their ability to succeed. They’ll even ask themselves why they signed up, even though they possess all the necessary features. This is why it is critical for parents to help their teenagers in developing good emotional skills and self-confidence so that they do not continually doubt themselves later in life.

Eating disorders and dieting

Feeling bad about yourself and having a poor body image can lead to constant dieting and restrictive eating habits. These individuals are often obsessed with exercising and keeping their weight under control.

Instead of focusing on positive aspects of their bodies and physical appearance, they will spend hours watching YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram videos about dieting and exercise. On the other hand, some will even resort to gimmicky products and methods that promise to get you thin quickly.

Keep in mind that even the smallest esthetic and surgical corrections can make you feel better and improve your self-esteem. So, there is no need to despair. You can simply change things you don’t like about yourself, like getting a new temple hair.

How to improve your body image?

Challenge negative thoughts

One of the first steps to overcoming negative body image is identifying negative thoughts. Our process of thinking is automatic, and we rarely challenge it. Pay attention to the self-talk you use whenever you are in front of the mirror, in an awkward situation, or when you make a mistake.

The things we say in those moments tend to become some sort of mantra we repeat over and over again. So, after identifying them, it’s essential to challenge these thoughts and evaluate them objectively.

How are they realistic? What evidence suggests they are true? Are statements based on opinions or facts? When you step back and think about this, you will be able to make some positive changes.

Appreciate your body

Now is the right time to start seeing your body in a more positive light instead of a neutral or negative one. Keep in mind that our bodies have incredible capabilities, so it’s crucial to focus on things your body can do instead of how it looks.

Don’t compare yourself to others

We often compare ourselves to celebrities, friends, and coworkers, but this is the worst possible thing to do. Tell yourself that each person is unique and that there is no perfection. Adjust your social media platforms and start following people who have healthy and unique body shapes.

The sooner you realize that your body doesn’t determine your personality, you will lead a healthier and ultimately happier life.

Eventually, you aren’t the only one struggling with a negative body image. This is a common issue that affects modern society. If negative thoughts prevail, causing severe distress and impairing your ability to function properly, it’s time to ask for professional help.

In this article, we covered a couple of important aspects. We hope it will challenge your way of thinking and help you focus on more positive physical characteristics, instead of looking for negative ones.

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