WHY HEALTHY BODY IMAGE IS IMPORTANT
If you’ve been feeling down about your body or how you look after the past year, it’s time to start the journey to a healthy body image.
THE STORY: The past year has been full of stress and constant change that have made adapting more difficult. Factors such as these can affect all kinds of relationships - not just interpersonal - such as our relationships with our bodies, food, and how we see ourselves resulting in a negative body image.
WHAT IS A HEALTHY BODY IMAGE? Body image is simply how you perceive your own body and the thoughts or feelings you have about your body. And did you know that body image also makes up approximately 1/3 of a person’s self-esteem? But what is a healthy body image? A healthy body image simply means that you determine your beauty and self-worth through your own eyes, not through the lens of societal expectations. It also means that no matter how you feel you look, you know that your appearance isn’t what makes you worthy or lovable.
IMPROVING YOUR BODY IMAGE AND LOVING YOURSELF:
1. Listen to your body. It’s important to listen to what your body is telling you and abide by it. If your body is telling you that you’re hungry, eat something. If it’s saying “hey, we’re tired”, take a nap. This is practicing mindfulness which will help you connect to your body.
2. Appreciate what your body can do. What all can your body do? It walks you around, it dances, maybe it even runs. Maybe you can swim for miles or easily carry heavy grocery bags from the car to home. Think of all the small things your body does for you on a daily basis and appreciate it!
3. Be careful with who you follow on social media. Who you follow on social media can influence how you view yourself and your body. If you find that you are following people whose posts make you feel poorly about yourself (maybe they photoshop all their images so they look perfect and you worry about meeting unrealistic expectations or maybe they talk about food/diet-related things that make you feel like you should change yourself) then hit that mute or unfollow button. Curate your social media experience so that you enjoy yourself instead of getting down on yourself!
4. Look at the whole. Learn to look at yourself as a whole. When you look in the mirror do you focus on individual features or body parts, particularly ones of which you’re not very fond? You are not just that one feature or body part - look at yourself as the whole person you are, the one you want others to see as well.
5. Surround yourself with the positive. Do you hang out with people who love you just as you are and who encourage you instead of discourage? Surrounding yourself with friends and family who do just that will make it easier for you to be good to yourself too.
THE ROUND-UP: It’s been a rough year. While you might be feeling down about yourself at the moment due to it, there are ways to turn a negative body image into a healthy body image. Who you are has nothing to do with how you look and learning to love yourself is one of the healthiest things you can do for you.