Body image is a complex topic that can be difficult to discuss. It’s important to remember that body image is not just about how someone looks on the outside, but it’s also about how they feel on the inside. People with a positive body image generally have a good sense of self-worth and feel good about themselves, regardless of their appearance. Find out more about body image and mental health here.
What is body image?
Body image can be defined as a person’s perception of their physical appearance. This includes how someone perceives their own body and how they think other people see them.
What affects body image?
Many factors can affect body image. Some of the most common include:
- Media images and advertising: Certain media images, especially from the fashion and advertising industries, can give people a distorted view of what is considered attractive. Moreover, people in social media can also create an idealized version of themselves, leading to feelings of inadequacy.
- Peer pressure: Friends and family can significantly influence body image, with some people feeling pressured to look a certain way. To a certain extent, friends and family first dictate how people look and act in their lives. This can lead to either a positive or negative view of one’s physical appearance.
- Societal norms and expectations: Society has a lot of pressure to have a specific body type or look a certain way. This pressure can come from many different sources, but society can dictate the way people should act and look in front of others. This comes in the form of culture, where people are born into a set of beliefs and values that they may not necessarily agree with.
- Personal experiences: People’s personal experiences can also affect their body image, such as being bullied. Incidents such as these can leave people feeling insecure and make them doubt their appearance.
- Mental health issues: Lastly, mental health issues can also affect body image. Conditions such as anxiety and depression can lead to a person having a negative view of themselves, which is reflected in their body image.
How does body image affect mental health?
So how does body image affect mental health? As we have stated earlier, a person’s mental health issues can affect their body image. But the reverse is also true: a person’s body image can affect their mental health.
People with a negative body image are more likely to experience mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. When people have a negative view of themselves, they can feel insecure, worthless, and ashamed. In worst-case scenarios, people who have a negative body image can develop mental disorders such as bulimia nervosa.
Conversely, people with a positive body image are less likely to experience mental health problems. When someone has a good sense of self-worth, they are more likely to feel confident and secure in themselves. This, in turn, leads to better mental health overall.
What can be done to improve body image?
If you are unhappy with your body image, there are a few things that you can do to improve it. Some of the most common include:
Talking to a therapist
A therapist can help you understand why you have a negative body image and change your thinking. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been known to break people’s negative perceptions of the self. Additionally, therapists can also offer support and guidance throughout the process.
Seeking support from friends and family.
Friends and family can also be a great source of support when it comes to body image. They can offer encouragement and understanding when it comes to the way you feel about yourself.
Utilize Cosmetic Procedures
This is highly shunned by people to treat negative body image, but to a certain extent, cosmetic procedures can make a difference in people’s lives.
For example, people who have a negative image of their smile due to the lack of their teeth have access to a wide array of cosmetic procedures to help them out. They can choose to get dental implants from brands like Clear Choice Dental, which are capable of giving them an operation that is less invasive. Moreover, people who have braces can also choose to get clear retainers instead.
Cosmetic procedures, especially those that concern the teeth, are some of the best ways to treat negative body image.
Engaging in physical activity
Physical activity is a great way to improve body image. Not only does it release feel-good chemicals in the brain, but it can also help to change the way you think about your body. Exercise can help to increase muscle mass, which can lead to a more positive body image.
Body image is a complex issue that can be difficult to discuss. It’s important to remember that body image is not just about how someone looks on the outside, but it’s also about how they feel on the inside.