5 Ways to Deal With Body Image Issues
Unfortunately, we find it very hard to accept our bodies.
Those who haven’t dealt with negative body issues are indeed very rare –approximately, 91% of U.S. women are unhappy with their bodies and are practicing various diets to achieve the ideal body shape.
The fact that only 5% of women actually possess the body type promoted as ideal by society, renders their efforts meaningless, as they can never achieve it.
If you’re not exactly satisfied with your reflection in the mirror, you’re not alone.
This challenge can be overcome, but you’ll need to put some effort into following these five steps.
Learn to Appreciate Your Body
People with body image issues have a strong inner critic, the one that thrives on making harsh and nasty comments about themselves.
You may have heard some of these already. I know I have. I’ve grown accustomed to hearing my inner grumpy grumbling whenever I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror – “I am so disgusting” or “Fat, that’s what I am” used to be its favorite despiteful comments.
Such negative thoughts were reserved for me only, as they would never occur to me when thinking about anyone else.
Those are the thoughts you need to learn how to challenge. This annoying critic makes you feel awful about yourself, and still, you believe every word.
One of the successful ways for dealing with this issue is mirror exposure therapy, during which you watch yourself in a full-length mirror for prolonged periods of time. This may provoke negative thoughts and emotions in the beginning. Through repeated exposure, you start seeing beyond your own thought-patterns, and such reactions to your own appearance fade away.
The best mechanisms for maintaining your negative self-image is avoiding your body, and not appreciating it.
In order to fight the body image issues, you need to break free from this vicious cycle.
Practicing self-care is one of the steps needed to stop avoiding your body.
Listen to the needs of your body, and address them.
Your body needs to feel good – it needs to be healthy, flexible, nourished. What can you do to tend its needs?
- Eat well and hydrate to keep your body healthy.
- Exercise to keep it fit and make everyday activities much easier.
- Pamper your body with a bubble-bath regularly, and nurture it fully afterward.
- Use your favorite lotions and moisturizers to show your body how much you care.
- Get to know every part of your body, and start feeling like you own its every piece – every bump and lump out there.
If that body fat stored in your hips is the reason for self-criticism, do what you can to shed it – a healthy diet and exercise can help, but you can also try liposuction at Auralia if they don’t give results.
As long as you’re being mindful of the steps you’re taking, and you want to achieve the wellbeing for both your body and your mind, you’re on a good path to deal with your body image issues.
Stop The Negative Talk
Breaking negative thought patterns about your body image and learning how to appreciate your body can be difficult. However, can be achieved if you become aware of the negative language you use when talking about yourself, especially when describing your body.
The simplest rule to follow is to avoid using words that you wouldn’t say to a friend. I would never call my friend a pig, but my inner critic was so keen on finding every opportunity to use such harsh words for me.
Some claim that it’s easier to fight your inner critic when you give it a name, as you can see it for what it is, and you are more likely to recognize when it tries to sabotage you. I’ve called mine Amoeba.
We’re on friendly terms now.
Be Mindful About Media Exposure
You’ll be even more equipped to deal with your inner-critic having its say on your body image if you are able to understand its roots.
And the roots are in our society’s expectations. We internalize them through our upbringing, starting with the expectations of our families. But don’t blame your parents, because they were basically taught in the same way. And that’s how all of us end up being focused on the body types and appearances media approve and serve.
Pay more attention to the slogans and images you get from various sources, that make you feel bad about yourself. A U.K. study shows that one in five adults and 40% of teenagers said images on social media caused them to worry about their body image.
A critical stance to these messages is needed to reduce the harm such an idealized body image has on us.
Re-Evaluate Your Self-Worth
When you recognize that people come in different shapes and sizes, you’ll start embracing what is unique about each one of them, including yourself. It will be much easier to re-evaluate your self-worth when you’re not relating it to the way you look.
You can start with it right now by making a top-ten list of the things you love about yourself, which have nothing to do with your body. Keep this list close, so that you can read it often and add other things when you notice them. You’ll start seeing yourself as a whole person in the mirror, and less as a pile of annoying body parts.
Dealing with body image issues is not an easy task, as the pressure to adhere to standards is strong and constant, right from the moment that we are born. Still, by following these steps, you can learn how to recognize and outsmart your inner critic, accept and care for yourself, and overcome your negative body image.