The bare bones of better body image feelings on Mental Health Awareness Week

Acceptance + acknowledging our individuality + positive self-talk + healthy diet and exercise = positive feelings about our body image.

Being positive about our bodies is an age old struggle – we want to be thinner, look younger, have nice skin, lovely locks, straight white teeth and zero so-called imperfections. According to the Mental Health Foundation, one in eight adults have had suicidal thoughts due to their body image.

So why do we think this way? Because we’re constantly being sold new products to make us reach our beauty dreams. They make us feel inadequate. We idolise people in glossy mags and on social media for looking this way and obsess over becoming like them. But we know this, right? And yet we still do it – trapped in a perpetual cycle of self-hatred.

The question is, will we be satisfied and truly happy if we suddenly looked the way we desired? I don’t think so, the problem is confidence and feeling comfortable in our own skin whatever we look like. If you don’t have the confidence in yourself, your mental attitude won’t change, even if you do lose those extra pounds.

How do we become more accepting of our bodies?

1.Identify the times when you have had more extreme bouts of self-bodily-loathing.

Has something triggered this response? For example a relationship break-up may have left you feeling unworthy because of your appearance. It’s important to separate a particular experience with feelings of worthlessness. By understanding why you’ve started to feel this way you can try to separate the event, and acknowledge that it’s made you feel a certain way, but that these feelings are not an accurate reflection of your body image, and they will pass.

2. Making unhealthy comparisons.

We live in the social media age, where we can present a version of our appearance, is it a real reflection? No. Does it make us happy? No, it’s fake. But yet we compare ourselves to these inaccurate portraits of ‘perfection’. If you find yourself doing this too regularly, you might want to take a break from social media and see if this helps you. After all what’s wrong with being different.

3. Change the way you talk about your body.

Self talk is really important. If you constantly tell yourself negative things, you’ll believe them. Try focusing on the things you like about yourself and tell yourself these things regularly. Because everyone is beautiful in their own special way.

4. Exercise in a healthy way.

We know that diet and exercise is really important, but it’s vital we do both healthily. Try not to become obsessed, eat well and work out because you want to become healthy. Doing both to an excess won’t make you happy. Look for ways you can fit eating well and exercising into your daily routine.

To conclude: Triggering events + unhealthy comparisons + negative self talk + obsessive exercise and dieting = negative feelings about our body image.

Acceptance + acknowledging our individuality + positive self-talk + healthy diet and exercise = positive feelings about our body image.

This isn’t easy, but trying to do some of these things just might help you.

Let me know ways you’ve managed to conquer negative body image in the comments below.

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