By: Stella Spelld
What is body image?
Body image is how we personally perceive our bodies visually. It is how we feel about our physical appearance and talk to ourselves about our body, especially when looking in a mirror… especially when naked…. We develop a sense of how others view our body which, in the end, affects the level of connectedness to ourselves and our partners.
Body image is a very widespread preoccupation for all ages, sexes and orientations. In a study conducted on a group of college students, 74.4% of the "average-weight" women stated that they thought about their weight/appearance "all the time" or "frequently". But the women weren’t alone; the study also found that 46% of the "average-weight" men surveyed suffered from the same insecurities regarding their bodies.
In today's culture, the media's focus on appearance is at an all-time high, which has significantly increased negative body image. This often causes people to engage in extreme dieting, exercise compulsion, laxative abuse, vomiting, smoking, use of anabolic steroids and other unhealthy practices related to body dissatisfaction. Untreated, these feelings tend to intensify and can lead to Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and create problems in relationships with family, friends, partners, work and school. Furthermore, BDD can result in anxiety, depression, and even thoughts about suicide. Fortunately, these issues are very treatable and start with understanding the underlying issues regarding our society's current physical ideals and taking steps towards developing and maintaining a more positive body image.
- Appreciate all that your body can do
Loving your body does not require you to be perfectly happy with every aspect of it. It simply means you are in rapport with your body, grateful for the amazing gift that it is, and appreciative for the many pleasures it offers. When you love your body you will feel good about who you are, and you'll feel more attractive, all of which will help your inner light shine more brightly.
- Indulge your body in fun, feel-good activities (often)
Be the star of your own fitness program. Walk, run, bike, do yoga, dance, have sex, stay active! Exercise makes you feel good about your body. Keep the focus on your health.
- Surround yourself with positive people
Negative people drain us of our energy, making us feel tired and exhausted through constant emotional bullying and manipulation. Do not allow yourself to be treated poorly.
- Keep a Top 10 list of things you like about yourself
And read it, often.
- Practice Affirmation :
Shut down those voices in your head. Aim to work with your body, not against it.
- Become a critical viewer of social and media messages
All media images and messages are constructions. They are NOT reflections of reality.
- Wear clothes that are comfortable and make you feel good about your body
Within your wardrobe lie the secrets to looking good and feeling great. When you look good, you feel good and you perform at a much higher level in your personal and professional life.
- Help others
Sometimes reaching out to other people can help you feel better about yourself and can make a positive change in our world. Be grateful for all you have and all that you are able to experience.
- Don't eat your pain away
Don't punish your body by playing mind games with food. Food is not the enemy. Eat healthy but don't obsess, it's ok to treat yourself sometimes. Maintain a balanced diet and remember to exercise regularly.
10. Remind yourself that beauty is only skin deep.
Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of body.
In conclusion, our bodies are an amazing source of intelligence and wisdom, not to mention sensual and erotic experience. Without them, we wouldn't be here.‰ª´