Let’s face it, at one time or another we’ve all wished that a part of our body looked a little different from what it does. Maybe you think you are too short, or that your breasts are too small, or that you are not muscular enough, or your skin’s not perfect, or your belly is too fluffy or that your nose is too big… Feeling self-conscious about your body is pretty common and relatively normal.
Throughout history, people have given importance to the beauty of the human body. Society, media, social media, and popular culture often shape these views, and this can affect how a person sees their own body, this is called ¨body image¨.
Positive or negative body image
Your body image is what you think and how you feel when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind. This includes how you feel about your appearance; what you think about your body itself, such as your height and weight; and how you feel within your own skin. Body image also includes how you behave as a result of your thoughts and feelings.
You may have a positive or negative body image. Positive body image is related to body satisfaction and acceptance, while negative body image is related to dissatisfaction and wanting your body to be different.
A healthy body image means you feel comfortable in your skin and you feel good about and accept the way you look. This includes what you think and feel about your appearance and how you judge your own self-worth. If you have a positive body image you are more likely to have good physical and mental health.
A negative body image may lead to low self-esteem, which can affect many areas of your life, like work, social life, and other aspects of your life. You may not want to be around other people or may obsess constantly about what you eat or how much you exercise. If you have negative thoughts and feelings about your body you are more likely to develop certain mental health conditions, such as eating disorders and depression.
If you have a negative body image, you may also suffer from body insecurity. It usually causes an unrealistic view of how you see your body. People of all genders and age can struggle with body insecurity. You don’t need a perfect body to have a good body image. When you accept and appreciate your body as it is, right now, you boost your body image. And your self-esteem too.
You can develop a healthier body image
It’s not always easy to turn a negative body image into a positive body image, but there are things you can do and it all starts in your mind ;-).
The more you practice thinking positive thoughts about yourself and the fewer negative thoughts you have about your body, the better you will feel about who you are and how you look. While very few people are 100% positive about every aspect of their body, it can help to focus on the things you do like. Also, most people realize as they get older that how you look is only one part of who you are. Working on accepting how you look is healthier than constantly working to change how you look.
Some people think, “When I get in better shape, I’ll like my body. But it’s best to start the other way. First, accept your body. Find things to like about it. Take good care of your body. When you like your body, it’s easier to treat it right.
Want to look and feel your best? Here are some of our tips:
Accept Your Body
- Nobody‘s perfect. That’s true for every BODY, too! We all want to be liked and accepted just as we are, we should treat our bodies in the same way. See your body the way it is, be less of a critic, be more of a friend.
- Don‘t body-shame yourself. When you make harsh comments about your own body, it hurts your self-esteem. That’s true whether you say it out loud or think it to yourself. It hurts just as much as if someone else said it.
- Practise positive self-talk. Rather than putting your body down, tell yourself what you like instead of what you don’t. Practice positive self-talk. say, “My arms are strong” rather than, “My arms are too big.” Keep doing it until it is a habit and you will start to believe it yourself.
- Improve your body image through journaling Journaling is an incredible way to fully express your thoughts without having to fear that you will be judged by someone else. Your journal is for you, and you only. You do not have to cover up or mask who you are when you write. Journaling allows you to see what thoughts are holding you back from living the life you want. When it comes to negative body image, it may not be clear at first how it’s impacting your life. But as you continue writing, you will begin to see patterns and how these thoughts are getting in your way.
Like Your Body
- Try not to get influenced too much by media messages and images, especially those that make you feel as if you should be different. Wear comfortable clothes and make up that you feel good in, not because they are supposedly the latest fashion.
- Find things to like about how you look. Maybe you like your hair, your eyes, or hands. What about your shap or your smile? Tell yourself what you like and why. If you get stuck, think of what your good friends like about how you look. Accept those things and know that there’s lots to like about you.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Every person on this planet is unique and it’s our differences that make us special. Appreciating the beauty of others doesn’t make you any less beautiful. Write a list of ten things you like about yourself that aren’t related to how you look and read the list often. Remember that beauty is not just about appearance.
- Focus on what your body can DO. Can you think of anything that your body does for you that you appreciate? Does your body help you breath, digest food, heal from injuries, interact with other people? Appreciate what your body can do, such as laughing, dancing, and creating. There’s so much more to your body than your looks. Your body is there for YOU! Be amazed, be grateful.
- Be aware of your body. Try to listen to your body. Learn to tell when your body needs food or rest. Enjoy the way your body feels when you walk, run, and play. Learn to breathe slowly and calmly as you move and stretch.
- Feel good about yourself. Instead of spending time thinking about your body, start a hobby, become a volunteer, or do something else that makes you feel good about yourself.
Take Care of Your Body
- Eat healthy foods. “You are what you eat” is a cliché for a reason. Learn what foods are good for you, and how much is the right amount. Take your time when you eat. Try to really taste your food and enjoy it. Eating right helps you look your best, it gives you the energy you need and it boosts your body image. Also it will help you reach and keepa healthy weight. Being a healthy weight is good for you and it helps you feel good about your body.
- Get good sleep. An adult needs between 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep per night. Get to bed on time. Turn off screens hours before bedtime so you can sleep well. For more tips about how to improve your sleep we refer to our blog: https://www.spa-in-spain.com/blog1/2017/03/17/good-quality-sleep-soundly-nurture-life/
- Be active every day. Your body needs to move to be strong, fit, and healthy. But do it for your own sake, not because society is indirectly asking you to do so, through social media and words like oh, you look like you gained weight. If you don´t enjoy what you are doing in the longer run you can´t force yourself to continue with the routine. Be active because you want to, because it makes you feel good, to be healthy and stronger, and so forth. You can be active by playing a sport. You can run, walk, work out, do yoga, swim, or dance. Pick activities you like and enjoy the fun you can have!
- Be kind to yourself. Do something nice for your body, such as getting a massage or a haircut, have a relaxing bubble bath or take some time to read a book. Being kind to yourself should also be part of building a more positive relationship with yourself and your body.
Many people who struggle with body insecurity believe they need to wait until they are a certain weight or body shape to do things they want to do, like getting a tattoo, trying a new activity, taking a trip, dating, or wearing certain styles of clothes.
But instead of trying to change your body first, try to make your life more enjoyable and less dictated by how you look. Focus on things that you want to do or accomplish in your body as it is right now, and then taking steps to make those things happen.
Be more mindful of how you treat your body, because how you are physically, does affect you mentally. And above all, don´t be too harsh on yourself, be patient. Set goals, but don’t set unrealistic ones: you are not racing against anyone else other than the person that you were. Always remember that you are more than your struggles, and everyone is rooting for you on your journey to become the best version of you!
If above tips don´t help and the feelings you have about your body keep causing distress, it may be beneficial to see a mental health professional. They can help you explore the reasons for these concerns and find ways to resolve them. Good luck, you can do this! You are beautiful no matter what you say 😉