When we leave our houses to go meet up with people, we may take one glance at the mirror and look away while others may not look in the mirror at all. Then there are those that can spend hours looking at themselves in the mirror because they do not feel satisfied in the way they look. Body image can impact the way we see ourselves as well as our mental health for the yearning of a “perfect” look.
What is body image?
A mental picture of your appearance and the attitude that you feel about it. This attitude can be influenced by the media, culture, and what your friends and family has said about you.
What is the distinction between positive and negative body image?
Positive body image is when the qualities of your body that you find are imperfections do not affect your self-esteem or bring to you anxiety. You accept and love everything about the way you look without dwelling on your flaws. Having a negative body image is when you are uncomfortable with your body and you find it difficult to accept your appearance.
How does the media influence body image?
Television, ads, pop culture, and other media are constantly showing attractive people with idealized bodies. These people are telling audiences that they can look just like them if they try. It may be easy to change things about the way you do your hair, your clothes, or putting on makeup or hair gel but people can spend thousands of dollars making drastic changes to their face structure, voice, or body shape. Looking like their idol can involve partaking in extreme diets, exercises, or constant cosmetic procedures.
How does body image affect your self-esteem?
Having a low self-esteem will make you more critical of your appearance and will cause you to negatively compare yourself to the way others look. If you do not like how you look, it will change your entire outlook on the way you see life. Then there are those that feel like if their appearance is the only flaw they have, they focus on the number of personality qualities that they have to feel more confident about themselves.
Why would having a negative body image link to eating disorders?
Those with a negative body image will take drastic measures in ensuring they have the “perfect” body. They can do things like overeat, starve themselves, binge eating, or making yourself throw up. This can cause someone to develop anorexia or bulimia or both.
How do you learn to love your body?
Going to therapy will teach you how to look at your body positively and to not focus on your appearance flaws. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy will help change negative thoughts, opinions, and feelings of your body into positive ones as well as what triggers these thoughts.