Body image is the combination of how you see your body, how you feel about your body, how you think about your body, how you love your body and the behaviours you portray in response to these aspects. Surprisingly, many factors impact how we see ourselves, think, feel, and act in response to our bodies, many of which are not even about our bodies. In this blog post, we will explore today’s body images, weight stigmatization, cultural and social media on negative body image, and discover tips for accepting your body and improving body image. So, let’s dive in.

What is Weight Stigma?

Weight stigma is a belief that our bodies should look like the models you see on magazine covers, in marketing ads, and in most movies (i.e. thin and muscular). So, when your body size doesn’t match these commonly held cultural standards of beauty, fitness, and health, you’ll experience weight stigmatisation and discrimination called anti-fat bias. Rooted in racism, anti-fat bias impacts many aspects of people’s lives, including their employment prospects and access to evidence-based healthcare, only to name a few.

When we take these negative attitudes towards fatness and turn them inwards, judging our bodies and believing we’re not worthy of equal opportunities because of our body size, that becomes an internalised weight stigma. The world tells you that you don’t fit in, and you believe it. You’re being gaslit by diet culture.

What Is Poor Body Image?

A negative body image involves being overly focused on comparing your size, shape, or appearance to unrealistic ideals. Holding yourself to a thin ideal or an athletic ideal may cause you to develop unhealthy self-talk, low self-esteem, or disordered eating patterns.

How negative Body Image Takes Root:

Have you ever thought that there is something “wrong” with your appearance, wondered who decides what makes your body right or wrong? When you believe that you are inherently less worthy than others based on the size of your body, you will start to pick apart every aspect of your body and the things you believe should be different,” These thoughts become your inner dialogue and prevent you from seeing the positives and beauty of your body as it is.

As a result of negative body image, you might consider yourself unworthy of compassion, love, friendship, personal style, professional opportunities, or comfort in public spaces. Of course, we all want these things, but weight stigma and negative body image can make us feel torn between “correcting” our bodies, accepting them, or languishing in limbo.

Cultural Ideas and Social Media on Body Image and Mental Health:

Cultural ideals of bodies can heavily influence body image, and the media often reflects these ideals. Studies show that exposure to images of idealised beauty leads to an increase in body dissatisfaction, increase in depression, and lower self-esteem.

Individuals bombarded with unrealistic portrayals of attractiveness often experience heightened levels of body dissatisfaction, leading to increased rates of depression and lower self-esteem. This cycle of comparison and self-criticism fuelled by cultural and media pressures can exacerbate feelings of inadequacy and contribute to the development of mental health issues. Recognising the pervasive impact of artistic ideals and media representations on body image is crucial in promoting mental well-being and fostering a more inclusive and supportive societal environment.

Tips For Accepting Your Body.

  • Permit yourself to be where you are—to be authentic and to be you! “We are all swimming in an ocean of messages that thin equals better, healthier, and more moral. It takes time and courage to break up with diet culture fully, so be proud of your work to heal your relationship with your body.
  • Diversify your social media feeds. “If your feed is filled with people who look just like you or who look like your aspirational self, you’re participating in creating your negative body image,” she said. Diversifying your social media feeds about body image is a decisive step towards cultivating a more inclusive and empowering online platform environment. This will allow you to see yourself reflected more authentically.
  • Distance yourself from people who make you feel bad about your body. Each of us is on our journey, and you may need to walk down a different path than your family and friends. If they cannot respect your body acceptance path, spend more time with people who do.
  • Don’t trust mirrors and photos to reflect reality. What we see in the mirror has layers of negative thoughts layered over it. Photos capture one slight second and angle. They don’t capture your life and energy.
  • Separate your worth from your weight. Your body image negativity didn’t happen overnight. So, It may take some time and intentional practice to build a new belief that you are 100% worthy of love, acceptance, and appreciation at any weight. Knowing your worth is not based on weight. People have repeated this affirmation to themselves hundreds of times, internalising their negative weight stigma to body respect.
  • Get yourself a Body Image Workbook – If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, you may not realize these feelings are entirely within your grasp. You don’t need extensive cosmetic surgery, pricey beauty treatments, or weight loss programs, but you may need to do something even more drastic-change your perspective and the way you view yourself. 

For too long, we’ve only seen images of thin women in the media. Our eyes have been trained to see only those bodies as attractive. Curate your social media feeds and deliberately seek out images of people in various body sizes who look beautiful and stylish. It will take time for your eye to adjust, but it will happen.

Our culture is full of messages that there is a right and wrong way to have a body, which feeds internalised weight stigma. To recover from negative body image, sought out people who believe all bodies are equally worthy at any size. I’m not talking about mainstream body positivity messages that you should love your body. Instead, it is a deeper and more meaningful message that all bodies deserve respect and dignity.

3 womena all happy about their body image

How Can I Improve My Self-Body Image?

  • Find things to like about your looks. Whenever you look in the mirror, find at least two things you like about yourself—maybe your hair, face, hands, elbows, knees, or feet. Concentrate on these areas, not the negative aspects that you see.
  • Focus on what your body can do. There’s more to your body than your looks. …
  • Be aware of your body. Pay attention to your body as you go through the day. Hold your head high and relax your shoulders. Being mindful of your posture allows you to begin new thought patterns.
  • Listen to your body. Change the messages you are giving yourself. Don’t get caught up in negative emotions and everyday drama.  Reach out to your body and draw on its cues.
  •  Throw out the bathroom scale. Think of your body as an instrument instead of as an ornament.

Why Is Body Image Important?

Individuals with negative thoughts and feelings about their bodies are more likely to develop certain mental health conditions, such as eating disorders and depression.

Body image is a multifaceted concept that goes beyond mere physical appearance. It encapsulates how we perceive, feel, think, and behave about our bodies. From the moment we wake up to how we interact with others, our body image influences numerous aspects of our lives.

Perception forms the foundation of our body image. It involves how we see ourselves when we look in the mirror or envision our bodies in our minds. This perception is not always based on objective reality but can be heavily influenced by internalised beliefs, societal standards, and personal experiences.

Our thoughts play a crucial role in shaping our body image. Cognitive processes, such as self-talk and internal dialogue, influence how we interpret and evaluate our physical appearance. These thoughts may be influenced by cultural ideals, media messages, and comparisons with others, leading to either acceptance or dissatisfaction with our bodies. Ultimately, cultivating awareness of our thought patterns and challenging negative beliefs can empower us to foster a healthier and more positive body image.


“Kindness is the gentle reminder that our words can shape not only others’ perceptions but also our own. Let compassion guide your thoughts and cultivate a kinder world around us.”

Molly

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2 thought on “Positive Body Image for Your Mental Health.”
  1. In return, I would like to extend my support by visiting your website as well. I believe in fostering a sense of community and reciprocity, and I’m eager to see what you have to offer on your platform.

    1. Hi

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m very happy to hear you want to support me and my website. I also believe in helping each other out and building a friendly community.
      On my website, I share useful stuff like articles and tips that I hope you’ll find interesting. I believe that Mental Health Care & Kindness Blend In Perfect Harmony.
      Feel free to look around and let me know what you think.

      Kind regards
      Molly Flexwell

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