IS YOUR BODY IMAGE RELIABLE?
Our body image is our mental picture of how our body looks. It is not uncommon for people with extra weight to have a negative self image. Our perception of what our body looks like, is often not what other people see. We start forming our perceptions of self at a very young age and negative input will have an impact. Distorted body image is more common among women, but does affect men too.
People of average weight can experience this distortion and sometimes those who are overweight can perceive themselves as smaller. Constantly checking out how you look in the mirror, as well as self criticism are among signs of distorted body image. This can go hand-in-hand with eating disorders.
ASPECTS OF BODY IMAGE
These include four important things: The way you see yourself, the way you feel about your looks, the thoughts and beliefs you feel about your body and the things you do in relation to how you look. These are shaped by our environment, ability or disability, attitudes of peers, social media, culture and more. An adolescent’s journey through puberty is also a big influence. According to the Ultimate List of Body Image Statistics research has shown that by the age of 17 years 80% of girls are unhappy with their body.
There are things that you can do on your own to improve your mental picture of self. Surrounding yourself with positive people is important in life and crucial if you have body image issues. If you keep pictures of yourself around, be sure they are ones you like to look at. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones, wear clothes that fit properly and stop comparing yourself to others. The most important suggestions I have; however, are around gratitude. Make a list of all the great things your body does for you every day, review it often. Do nice things for your body that contribute to gratitude and do things your body is able to do for you. Developing an Attitude of Gratitude can help with negative body image and with many other self criticisms.
Body dysmorphic disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis. If you fear that you are experiencing this disorder, bring it to your Primary Care Provider’s attention so that you can get help. A mental health professional needs to make this diagnosis and can send you in the right direction.
Many things affect our mental health when it comes to body image. Some of these are the fashion industry’, the beauty industry, film and TV ideas of what is normal, the fitness and diet industries and so much more. There is so much more to be said about the what’s, why’s and how’s of body image issues. Without a doubt you will find them coming up in blog posts as time goes on.
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