Body image refers to how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or how you picture yourself in your mind. Body image encompasses what you believe about your appearance, how you feel about your body, and how you physically experience or feel in your body. We develop a body image when we’re fairly young as we become more aware of our bodies. Unfortunately, many individuals struggle with their body image, which can negatively impact their mental health. As a Philadelphia eating disorder clinic that understands the importance of viewing ourselves in a positive light, below are some tips on how to improve body image for those who are struggling.
How to Improve Body Image Issues
Anyone can struggle with their body image. We become very conscious of our bodies and physical appearance at a very young age, so it’s understandable that people of all ages may struggle with the way they feel about their appearance. If you’re one of these people, below are some tips on how to improve body image and self-esteem that can help you see yourself as the wonderful human being that you are!
Challenge Negative Thoughts
The first step toward overcoming negative body image is to develop an awareness of negative thoughts concerning your appearance. Our thoughts are often automatic and pass through our minds without us even realizing it. However, when we let this cycle continue without stopping it, these thoughts become repetitive mantras that can create deep-rooted negative thoughts.
Instead, challenge these thoughts when they present themselves rather than accepting them as fact. Ask yourself if the statement you’re making is fact or opinion. Is this view realistic? Is there evidence to support this thought, or is it coming from a negative place? When you take a step back and actually evaluate these negative thoughts, you’ll eventually come to find that it’s more of a self-attack than a factual claim.
Identify the Motivation for Self-Criticism
If you’re constantly criticizing your appearance, consider what your motivation for this criticism is. Do you feel that you should be thinner, or are you trying to control your appearance because you feel out of control in other areas of your life? Do you really dislike your hair, or are you echoing criticism you’ve received from someone else? When we identify the motivation behind our negative self-talk, we can find healthy and positive ways to heal and satisfy emotional needs that aren’t being properly met.
Avoid Criticizing Others
How we think of others is a reflection of our heart and character. If you tend to criticize others’ appearance often, you might be projecting negative feelings you have about your appearance. If you feel self-conscious about your weight, you might find yourself constantly analyzing whether your old friends from high school have either lost or gained weight. Engaging in the criticism of others is not only unkind, but it also prevents you from getting to the root of the problem: how you see yourself.
Appreciate Your Body for What It Can Do
When criticizing ourselves, we tend to dismiss or ignore all of the amazing things our bodies can do. One of the best tips for how to improve body image is to start seeing your body in a positive light and celebrate it for what it can do. This can include anything from running far distances to allowing you to paint or write. When you consistently put this into practice, you learn how to view your body for its achievements and not its “failures.”
One of the most important ways to improve body image is to stop comparing yourself to others. Body dissatisfaction is rooted in comparison. Try to be aware any time you compare yourself to a peer or celebrity. Remind yourself that everyone’s body is unique and that you’re one in infinity; there’s no one out there like you!
Also, remember that there’s no “ideal” look, and any “ideal” look out there has been established by people with a very specific agenda. To make this easier, we suggest unfollowing the people you tend to compare yourself to on your social media. Avoid apps that enable this behavior or even spend time with people who also engage in self-comparison.
Challenge the Media
To piggyback off of what we just mentioned, we also encourage you to challenge images in the media which aren’t always truthful and realistic. Keep in mind that countless celebrities photoshop their images before posting to make themselves look as flawless as possible. Apps and websites can also change just about anyone’s appearance.
Assuming everyone else looks flawless naturally can damage your confidence and self-esteem, and celebrity influence on body image has proven damaging. Challenge media portrayals by limiting your exposure to these images or – as we advised – unfollowing people who post false and unrealistic physical portrayals on their social media.
Identify Non-Physical Traits You Love About Yourself
The thing about negative body image is that it seems to constantly draw your attention to how you look. In the midst of this, you can miss out on so many joyous moments. Instead, we encourage you to take the focus off the physical and think about other traits you admire about yourself, such as your intelligence or kindness.
Considering the various physical portrayals of perfection, we consistently come across nowadays, it’s no surprise that so many people define themselves by how they look instead of their character. Many eating disorders are rooted in body-related conditions like body dysmorphic disorder.
Therefore, it’s common for individuals who struggle severely with their physical appearance to later develop an eating disorder as a way to regain control, cope with their emotions, and drastically change their appearance. If you or someone you know needs anorexia or bulimia nervosa treatment, our Banyan Philly rehab is here for you.
We offer various forms of Philadelphia eating disorder treatment that includes counseling and therapy to help clients change their lives for the better. Don’t wait. Call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 to get started.