Developing and maintaining a healthy body image is crucial to living a healthy life. Body image is how we see ourselves when we look in the mirror or when we picture ourselves in our minds. This does not just include how you feel about your body, but how you feel IN your body. Feeling proud of your body and accepting the unique body you have can lead to a much more comfortable and confident life. While on the other hand, having a negative body image can cause individuals to feel ashamed, self, conscious, uncomfortable, and awkward in his or her own body. Those who have a negative body image are more likely to develop eating disorders, as well as more likely to suffer from depression and low self-esteem. We must work towards learning how to overpower the negative thoughts and feelings by replacing those thoughts and feelings with positive, affirming, and accepting ones. Below are 10 steps to a positive body image:
- Appreciate all that your body can do.
- Keep a top 10 list of things that you like about yourself. These things should not be related to how much you weigh or what you look like.
- Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin-deep…Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body.
- Look at yourself as a whole person; choose not to focus on specific body parts.
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Shut down the voices in your head that tell you your body is not “right” or that you are a “bad” person.
- Wear clothes that are comfortable and make you feel good about your body.
- Become a critical viewer of social and media messages.
- Do something nice for yourself—something that lets your body know you appreciate it.
- Use the time and energy that you might have spent worrying about food to help others.
This list cannot automatically tell you how to turn any negative thoughts into positive thoughts, but it can help you find new ways of living a healthier lifestyle with a more positive body image!
For more information on body image and the effects of a positive and negative body image, visit the following website: www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/what-body-image