“Healthy emotions come in all sizes. Healthy minds come in all sizes. And healthy bodies come in all sizes.” – Cheri K. Erdman
Have you ever thought about your body image? Chances are you have probably given it a lot of thought because it is the front you have to present to the world and you would like to present the best appearance. There are very few people not bothered about the appearance of their body.
What is Body Image?
“Body image” is how you feel about your body in your own mind. Sometimes the image in your mind somewhat matches the image other people have of you. But a lot of the time however, you view your body in a distorted way. You notice the flaws more than other people would. You can exaggerate the negative parts of your body in the distorted mirror you see. Only it is not the mirror nor the body which is distorted but the thoughts running through your head about your body.
Studies show that our own perception of our body is more important than what other people think of our body. You may look beautiful but if you choose to focus on a flaw, this imperfection will be magnified in your mind and when you look in the mirror, you will see an exaggeration of the flawed image of yourself.
A lot of factors influence body image such as personal experiences and personality. The concept of your own physical appearance is mostly internal. Other important factors influencing your body image are your emotions and moods. Being in a good mood you may have a positive body image. If you suffer from depression or anxiety, your body image might be mostly negative.
Whatever our body image, these thoughts affect our behaviour. If you are positive about your body, the confidence shows in your body language. If you feel negative about your body, the awkwardness will show up in your behaviour. If you imagine you have a beautiful body regardless of your flaws, your positive behaviour may serve to drive the attention of other people away from your flaws and concentrate on your confident personality instead.
The group most affected by body image are women. Anxiety about body image is mostly experienced by teenage girls as they are the most vulnerable group in society, although boys too may suffer but to a lesser extent. Teenagers look towards society and media portrayal as to what the ideal body image is and try to emulate this.
Have you accepted your body for what it is even taking pride in your physic or do you cringe at the sight of yourself in the mirror?
If you suffer from a negative image of yourself try considering the following:
- Accept that there are certain things about your body you are unable to change which are predetermined by your genetics. You are unique.
- Weight is something you can do deal with. It is largely controllable if you put your mind to it.
- The most important thing is to keep your body as healthy as possible by exercising and eating a balanced diet.
- Unless you are aiming for a specific event such as running a marathon, there really is no need to incorporate a heavy exercise routine into your lifestyle. Simply increasing your physical activity on a daily basis is enough to keep you healthy.
Studies have shown that with age, we become more accepting of our body. So relax in the knowledge that you have a unique body and look after it well. Accept it and nurture it the way it is.