This week is Mental Health Awareness week and the focus for this year is body image. Body image is the way we think and feel about our bodies and over the course of our lives this changes. Many people say that they have a positive body image. However, last year the Mental Health Foundation conducted research that found 1 in 3 people in the UK felt overwhelmed or distressed to the point of being unable to cope because of the negative thoughts and feelings they have about their bodies.
This distress and shame may have been caused by many different things. Perhaps comparing yourself to images on social media, the changes that come with pregnancy and childbearing. Often people struggle because of teasing or cruelty when people have used how you look as a way to criticise. These levels of stress and unhappiness have profound implications for our mental wellbeing. Ongoing dissatisfaction can also cause us to attempt crash diets or over exercise, leading to ongoing physical issues. While many women strugle with their body image many men do as well. In 2016 55% of teenage boys surveyed said they would consider changing their diet to look better.
A positive body image and self-esteem start in the mind, not in the mirror.
Working with a trained professional can help you change the way you perceive yourself. Self-esteem and self-confidence that is based on who we are and what we do rather than what we look like is much more stable. Having a healthy body image and self-esteem are a big part of well-being.
The NHS says low self-esteem and poor body image often begins in childhood. “Messages from teachers, friends, siblings, parents, and even the media affect how we see ourselves. The message that you are not good enough is the one that stays with you.” The good news is that you can choose to do things differently and to think differently. Part of boosting your self-esteem is identifying your negative beliefs that you hold about yourself and challenging them. Another part is to challenge yourself, find new ways to see yourself and new situations that change your currently held notions of what you are capable of.
It’s time to take a stand. Reclaim your power and peace of mind. If you’re ready to embrace a positive body image and feel comfortable in your own skin, contact me to have a chat about how I can help.