Body image is defined as how we think and feel about our body. And it will come as no surprise that the majority of us do not feel relaxed or satisfied with how we look. That, in itself, is a problem.
But the impact on how we go about living our life is more concerning. A lack of confidence in how we look is literally stopping people, especially women, from fully engaging at work, in relationships, and in social situations. Across the board, poor body image is holding us back from living our life.
According to a report commissioned by Dove in 2016, 89 per cent of Australian women are unhappy with their body image and said they have cancelled plans, job interviews or other important events because of how they look. What the hell?! If we stop and think about that statistic, it is frightening.
The origin of poor body image is usually complex, most often starting in childhood. It could begin with comments made by family members or peers. It could come from media portrayals of what is considered culturally attractive, and exacerbated by the photo-shopping of images - making the portrayal both unrealistic and unattainable.
Or it can come from our obsession with beauty, and our self-comparison to others, highlighted by our prolific use of social media.
These influences follow us into adulthood, as well-established thought patterns and ways of viewing ourselves that remain with us permanently, unless we do something about it.
But we can begin to change these thoughts at any time, starting with these strategies.
1. Take care of yourself physically
Eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep – they sound too simple to make a difference, but aside from how this will make you feel physically, a factor that can make poor body-image worse is knowing that you aren’t managing the basics of self-care.
2. Pay attention to your self-talk
Listen to the conversation you’re having in your head. What do you tell yourself? How do negative thoughts make you feel about yourself? Negative self-talk contributes enormously to poor body image and in order to change it, you need to change the dialogue you’re having with yourself.
3. Reframe how you interpret social media
How often do you look at your social media feeds and think everyone is having a wonderful time? Not all, but most people prefer to put their filtered photos and happy moments on social media, while omitting the photos that show their imperfections or writing about how unhappy they are at the moment.
If you are viewing your SM feeds through the lens of comparison and always find yourself coming up short, remind yourself that what you see is not necessarily reality. Try googling “Facebook vs Reality” for a visual reminder!
4. Get some help
Sometimes we need help to overcome these issues because they are so ingrained in how we think and feel about ourselves. Be courageous and get the help you need. It could free you and open up the possibility of fully experiencing your life.
If you feel that poor body image is holding you back from living your life fully, reach out and ask for help – you are not alone with these feelings. Contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org