Real Stories

The Effects of Poor Body Image on Your Mental Health

Body image is the mental picture you have of your own body and the way in which you perceive yourself in your mind. When all of the emotions and thoughts you have about your body mix up in your brain, they will create a unique feeling which can be good or bad. Self-esteem and self-love have a big influence on the way you’ll see your body, and if it turns out you have poor body image, that can have serious consequences on your mental health.

Triggering eating disorder

Living in a world where thinness and beauty are the main characteristics women are valued for, it’s highly challenging to maintain a good body image. From the television to the Internet, media is crammed with ridiculously thin women which are now represented as a very unhealthy beauty standard many young people strive towards. When teenagers fall under the influence of those standards, they become very susceptible to peer pressure and looking good which can often lead to eating disorders if they estimate they’re not thin enough. Not only can they start starving themselves which can ultimately lead to anorexia and bulimia, but also begin binge eating which, on the other hand, leads to a different extreme – obesity. Aside from jeopardizing their physical health, poor body image can also lead to the inability to form relationships, bring their mood down, and jeopardize their ability to engage. When it comes to older people, eating disorders are just the tip of the ice-berg considering that adults put their overall quality of life at risk if they don’t feel happy with their bodies.

Lack of self-esteem

With so many unrealistic beauty standards, body shaming is very common. Whether we’re talking about teenagers and younger children where this topic is particularly present, or we’re talking about adults’ often criticism about one’s figure, it can lead to a serious lack of self-esteem. This can further cause people to question their bodies and look for the solution to the problem. While it’s perfectly okay to always improve the way you look, and undergo cosmetic surgery to reach your goal, you should only do it if that is what you truly want, and not because others feel like you should go under the knife. Feel free to turn to cosmetic surgery experts if you want to improve the shape of your body features and facial features. Cosmetic surgery is one of the successful solutions to overcoming poor body image, but you should also try focusing on your accomplishments and good qualities and repeating affirmations to increase your confidence.

Feelings of depression and anxiety

When dissatisfaction with one’s body becomes too much, it can cause depression and anxiety. Just the mere look in the mirror and your entire day can become ruined if you have poor body image. Aside from feeling depressed and anxious about going out and dressing, poor body image can exacerbate problems in relationships, and potentially lead to the development of substance abuse problems. If you realise that handling poor body image is too much for you, it would be smart to start going to psychotherapy or other mental health treatments. Talking in detail about your problems with a counsellor can help you deal with your problems and start looking at yourself from a completely new perspective. Surround yourself with positive people who’ll lift your spirit up and encourage you to work on yourself and your self-esteem instead of staying at home feeling depressed.

How you can improve your body image

Aside from talking to a professional and surrounding yourself with positive people, you can also filter out all the profiles on social media that were making you feel bad about your own body. One of your regular practices should become self-care, and reminding yourself every day that you are worthy of love and kindness. Don’t compare yourself to others anymore, and feel free to look for support in your family and friends no matter how difficult a situation you’re in.

Having poor body image can cause a variety of mental health issues, so it’s essential that you ask for help if you start experiencing anxiety, depression or maybe an eating disorder. Don’t let the media influence how you feel about yourself. You’re beautiful no matter the way you look, so feel proud in the body you have.

by Diana Smith

Diana Smith is a full time mother of two beautiful girls interested in health related topics and alternative medicine.

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