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According to research, many people are dissatisfied with their bodies. Women tend to suffer from these issues more than men, and it was found that ¼, i.e., 28 % of the women suffer from moderate to severe body image issues in India. Most of these women are dissatisfied with their facial features, body weight, shape of their thighs, breasts, buttocks, or other body parts.
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Ms Aarti Nandu

Psychologist, Clinical Hypnotherapist
12 years of experience
I firmly believe in fostering better self-understanding and psychological growth through empathy and warmth, ultimately leading to the holistic betterment of individuals. Hey, I am Aarti Suri Nandu, and I hold a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology and a Post Graduate Diploma in School Counselling and Career Guidance from SNDT University, Mumbai. Additionally, I have acquired a Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy from the California Hypnosis Institute, USA. For over 12 years, I have had the privilege of working with individuals across all age groups, addressing a diverse array of personal, developmental, and mental health concerns. My areas of expertise encompass Hypnotherapy, Couple/Marital/Family Therapy, Prenatal and Postnatal Counseling, Positive Parenting Skills, Career Guidance, Mindfulness Practices, and Therapies for Depression, Anxiety, and other emotional and psychological issues. Moreover, I have also gained the honor of being recognized by The Honourable Governor of Maharashtra, Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyariji, for my contribution to mental health, particularly for offering online free services nationwide during the COVID-19 restrictions. I am deeply committed to supporting individuals on their journey toward mental well-being and personal growth. Through a combination of empathy, expertise, and dedication, I strive to empower my clients to navigate life's challenges with resilience and authenticity, ultimately fostering a more fulfilling and meaningful existence.
Today, 23 Apr, 04:00 pm IST
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Mental Health Care to Improve Your Self-Image

So, what exactly is body image? Let's understand this further. It refers to how you perceive yourself. It also includes having an assumption about how other people perceive you. This is often influenced by friends, family, society, pop culture, and media.
To decide whether you have a positive or negative image of yourself, you need to ask yourself a certain set of questions. These questions include - "What thoughts are triggered within you when you think of your body? Are these feelings positive or negative? Do you see your body for what it is or wants it to be? Are you happy and accepting of your current body weight, shape, or size?"
This can lead to low self-esteem and cause a lot of mental health disorders like anxiety, eating disorders, depression, etc. This can even impact your daily life and relationships adversely. Hence, it's important to reach out to a mental health professional who can help you cope with this issue.

Major Causes

There are a lot of causes that trigger this in a person. These include:
  • Having a relatively low or high body weight compared to their height.
  • Having faced bullying as a child for body weight, shape, or size.
  • Having faced body shaming and criticism from friends, family, and peers.
  • Being called ugly, fat, thin, etc., by the people around you.
  • Being overexposed to social media can make you feel bad about your appearance.

Dealing with Negative Thoughts About Your Appearance

All the techniques and steps taken on the outside will amount to nothing if you don't fix the negative self-talk that goes in your mind. You need to be aware of the negative self-talk you might find yourself indulging in repeatedly.
You might have negative thoughts about your body when you stare at yourself in the mirror. It might seem like your body is full of flaws but know that it is far from the truth. You must identify and reframe your negative thoughts as soon as they arise.
Here's how you can replace your negative thoughts with positive and more accepting thoughts:
  • Negative thoughts - I look so ugly.
    Replacement thought - I am not satisfied with how I look today, but it's okay to feel like that sometimes. Everyone goes through it from time to time. My looks do not determine my self-worth.

  • Negative thought - I hate my body.
    Replacement thought - My body isn't perfect, but it does so much for me. It has helped me come this far in life. It deserves my respect, kindness, and compassion. Hence, I'll treat it with respect.

  • Negative thought - I hate my round thighs, flabby arms, and rounded belly. They look so ugly.
    Replacement thought - My legs have helped me walk whenever and wherever I want. My arms allow me to hug my loved ones whenever and wherever I want. My stomach helps me digest and assimilate my food. It helps me take in all the vital nutrients from the food and provides me with much-needed energy.

  • Negative thought - Everyone else looks more beautiful than me.
    Replacement thought - I am so much more than my looks. I will focus on that aspect of me that has nothing to do with my looks. I have so many unique qualities that set me apart from others. I am unique, and there is no need to compare myself with others.

Tips for Body Positivity

To tackle this problem, you need to embrace body positivity. But what exactly is it? Body positivity refers to a concept that believes everyone deserves to feel good about their bodies regardless of the societal standards of ideal body shape, size, and appearance.
  1. Practice Gratefulness - An attitude of gratitude helps you deal with these issues. Because it enables you to focus on "what you have" rather than "what you don't have." Once you inculcate this habit, you'll realize all the amazing things your body does for you to keep you alive.

    Make a gratitude list of everything your body does for you and read it daily. 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 criticizing your appearance.

  2. Say No to Dieting - Dieting has become more of a norm these days, especially for women. Nowadays, dieting culture isn't just restricted to adults. Even young children, as little as 5-year-olds, are found to be dieting these days. So what's the solution?

    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 at reaching your desired weight or body shape. 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 hamper 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 when dealing with these issues. Be careful with the type of accounts you follow on social media, as it adversely affects your mental health. So, 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 perfect bodies are subjected to extreme diets and rigorous lifestyle regimes to achieve that perfect body. This can help you in changing your mindset around your body.

  4. Be Kind to Yourself - You might have spent years beating yourself up. Try practicing being compassionate to yourself instead. Spend less time criticizing yourself and more time appreciating yourself. Self-compassion can help you when you struggle 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. So, whenever you criticize your body, talk to yourself as you would talk to your best friend.

  5. Make a List of Things You Love About Yourself - This is probably one of the most powerful tips to help you overcome negative body image. If you have indulged in self-hate for long, you tend to fixate on everything 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 do the opposite? What if you focus on everything you love about yourself! 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 person you are. Know that you aren't defined by the shape of your body or the number on the scale.

Find Help From a Licensed Therapist Who's Right For You

Finding the right therapist is crucial when dealing with body image issues. The right therapist is the one with whom you can establish a bond so that it becomes easy for you to open up about your issues. But this may take some time. You may need to give at least 3 to 4 sessions with a therapist to build that connection and trust.
If you struggle to form a connection with them even after 3-4 sessions, you can switch to another therapist. You can find the list of various therapists on our website. You can easily choose from the various specialists with specific qualities you may be looking for.

Schedule a Virtual Psychotherapy Appointment with a Counsellor Today

If you have been suffering from a negative body image for quite some time, it might be time to consider getting help from a trusted Psychotherapist. We at DocVita have various specialists that help you manage and cope with your stress better. Simply hop on to DocVita and book your first session today!