Do you find yourself gazing at the mirror and resenting your body? What feelings do you generate when you look at yourself in the mirror? Do you feel you aren’t pretty just because you don’t fit in with the beauty standards set by society and the beauty industry? Do you equate your self-worth based on the number you see on the weighing scale?
If you said yes to any of the above questions, then you are probably dealing with negative body image. You may feel triggered by hearing this, but we are here to do anything but trigger you. Criticizing or resenting your body to fit in the societal norms of beauty may seem normal, but it isn’t.
You might think, “What’s wrong with trying to be a particular weight, shape, or size? What’s wrong with aiming for an ideal weight?” There’s nothing wrong with striving to be a healthier and happier version of yourself. But, the real question is, “Are you really doing it out of your willingness or joy, or is it due to some forced societal conditioning?”
Are you doing it out of self-love or self-hate? Aren’t you postponing your happiness for some desired future outcome? These are a few of the thought-provoking questions you really need to ask yourself before moving forward with trying to change your appearance.
The harsh truth is that most women are dissatisfied with their bodies and are desperately trying to change them using extreme and unhealthy measures. In fact, according to a research, almost 86 % of women are dissatisfied with their bodies and want to shed a few pounds to feel good about themselves.
This takes a huge toll on their physical and mental well-being, especially for the young teenage girls. These women find themselves on the verge of having a mental breakdown. All this is due to the societal pressure of being a certain way. Unfortunately, social media has made it even worse. Nowadays, an Instagram picture of a celebrity or a supermodel is enough to trigger negative body image issues and low self-esteem in women.
The problem exists, and we are all aware of it. So, it’s high time we acknowledge it so that we can take constructive actions toward changing this narrative. We need to accept ourselves the way we are and have a healthy relationship with our bodies.
Here’re 7 powerful ways in which you can deal with negative body image:
1. Practice Gratefulness
An attitude of gratitude goes a long way in helping you deal with body image issues. Why? Because it helps you focus on “what you have” rather than “what you don’t have”. Once you inculcate the attitude of gratitude for your body, you’ll realize all the amazing things your body does for you to keep you alive.
Do you find yourself wondering what you should be grateful for? Well, there are plenty of things big and small that you can appreciate. Be grateful for your eyes because it helps you see this world. Be grateful for your nose because it helps you smell the fragrances around you. Be grateful for your hands because it helps you do so many tasks during the entire day. Be grateful for your lungs for helping you breathe properly.
Make a gratitude list of everything your body does for you and read it every day. You can also write a gratitude letter to your body, honoring everything your body does for you. This practice allows you to drop the criticism and helps you step into the power of self-love. Do this practice every day, especially when you catch yourself beating yourself up for your appearance.
2. Ditch the Diet
Dieting has become more of a norm these days, especially for women. According to one survey, 90 % of women have dieted at least once in their entire lifetime. Another survey claimed that 50 % of the women could be found dieting at any point of time.
Dieting culture isn’t just restricted to adult women. Even young children, as little as 5-year-olds, are found to be dieting these days. According to a recent survey, 14% of 5-year-old girls are found to be dieting to lose weight. This only gets worse as they grow up. Another shocking survey showed that 80% of the 10-year-old girls are dieting to lose weight.
Now that you are aware of the problem, what can you do about it? Well, understand that dieting will not make you feel good about your body. You can not subject your body to extreme diets in the hope of feeling good on reaching your ideal weight or desired body shape someday. Sadly it doesn’t work like that.
You need to feel good about your body now. You need to accept it for everything it does for you. Remember that dieting can destroy your self-esteem even more. Instead of dieting, try mindful and intuitive eating. Stop counting calories and have everything in moderation. Remember that there is no good or bad when it comes to food.
3. Take Time Away From Social Media
Avoiding social media is crucial in managing the symptoms related to body image issues. The type of accounts you follow on social media can affect your mental health to a great extent. So if you follow the social media handles of supermodels who share their perfect summer bikini bodies on their Instagram accounts, you will most likely feel insecure about your body.
The perfect images of these supermodels can trigger a sense of inadequacy in you. It can make you question your self-worth. This might make you believe that you aren’t beautiful the way you are. It might make you feel that to be beautiful, you need to achieve a certain body size, shape, or weight.
So what’s the solution? Well, for starters, stop following all of the social media accounts that make you feel bad about your body. Refrain from spending time on social media as much as possible.
Also, you need to understand that what you see on social media is not a reality. The images you see there are photoshopped to look perfect. The supermodels you see on Instagram with their perfect bodies are subjected to extreme diets and rigorous lifestyle regimes to achieve that perfect body. Most of them suffer from mental health issues. This can help you in changing your mindset around your body.
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4. Be Kind to Yourself
You have spent years beating yourself up. How about you try practicing being compassionate to yourself from now on? Spend less time criticizing yourself and practice kindness instead. Self-compassion can help you when you are struggling with the critical voice in your head.
But don’t be hard on yourself if you aren’t able to practice it well in the first go. Be gentle with yourself. Know that it takes time to build the muscle of self-compassion in oneself. So, every time you find yourself criticizing your body, speak to yourself as you would speak to your best friend.
5. Surround Yourself With Body Positive Influences
Surround yourself with people, friends, and family who positively influence you. You can follow influencers’ social media accounts who post their real, unfiltered images. This promotes a positive body image among the masses. You can also read blogs by bloggers supporting body positivity.
You can also create your own body-positive Pinterest board. Or try joining organizations and support groups that promote body positivity. Hang out with friends who engage in talks that are body positive.
6. Make a List of Things You Love About Yourself
This is probably one of the most powerful tips that will help you overcome negative body image. When you are indulged in self-hate, you tend to fixate on everything that you hate about your body. It can be the shape of your nose, your flabby arms, or the shape of your butt.
But what if you try making a list of everything you like about yourself? It can be anything from your crooked smile, the curves of your body, to even the kind of person you are. The trick here is to focus on the good and acknowledge yourself for the whole being you are. Know that you aren’t defined by the shape of your body or the number on the scale.
7. Wear Clothes That Make You Feel Good
Instead of desperately trying to force-fit into the clothes that make you feel insecure about yourself, try clothes that make you feel good about yourself. Put all the clothes that make you feel insecure about your body into a box and toss them away or even better if you can donate it to some charity.
Have a collection of comfortable clothes ready for any occasion you may encounter. It can help you at those times when you are struggling to find anything nice to wear.
Seek Body Image Therapy from a Trusted Provider with Docvita
In case you have tried all the above-given tips, and you are still struggling to embrace body positivity, it’s high time you reach out for help. We at DocVita have various specialists from different fields that can help you manage and cope with your body image issues better. All you have to do is hop on to DocVita’s book a therapist page and book your session.