Many people struggle with their self-image and the perception they have of their bodies and overall appearance. This can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, the frequent comparing of self to others, as well as negative self-talk which all have a detrimental effect on a person’s mental and emotional well-being.
This issue has been made worse with the rise of social media and the constant exposure of online images shaping our perceptions of beauty. With celebrities, models and fitness instructors presenting idealized and often unrealistic body types, research has found there to be a correlation between social networking sites and body image concerns, leading to problems such as disordered eating. In this article, we will explore some simple tips to help you improve your body image.
Make positive changes
Many people have certain perceived flaws or defects that cause them to feel self-conscious or unhappy with the way they look. Perhaps you were bullied or made fun of at school for a certain feature that you would now like to change. It can be helpful to consult a professional to see if they can help you bring about the changes you would like, whether it is in a facial feature or a particular part of your body. For example, you may feel embarrassed about your smile due to misaligned or crooked teeth. There are many cosmetic dentistry procedures available today which can correct your teeth and boost your confidence along the way.
Each time you are tempted to compare yourself to the photos you see online, remind yourself that an image does not always tell the whole story and no matter how picture-perfect someone’s life may seem, we never truly know what is going on behind the scenes. The truth is most people have their struggles, no matter how we judge them to look.
Keep in mind also that most images presented by the media are not accurate and have been edited and photo-retouched to enhance the overall appearance of the model or celebrity they are presenting. Limiting your screen time scrolling through these images online as well as adjusting your feed to reduce posts that will upset you can also be a great self-help tip to keep you from over-consuming content that can have a detrimental impact on your feelings of self-worth.
Mind the self-talk
Make it a daily practice to be more mindful of your negative thinking and the things you say to and about yourself. Each time you hear a critical or hurtful thought arise rather than believing it, take a moment to pause and question its validity. Remind yourself that you have the power to change your inner narrative and no longer have to think this way about yourself and you can begin replacing these thoughts with more compassionate and kind thoughts about yourself instead.
A good tip is to ask yourself if you would talk this way to a good friend. Rather than agreeing with your friend when they say something negative about the way they look, the chances are you would respond in a loving and uplifting manner helping them feel better about themselves. The great thing is you can do the same for yourself too.
Put the tips in this article into practice to help you improve your body image and your overall well-being.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.