Body image is not what you look like but refers to your personal relationship and perception of your body. More specifically, body image can be defined as the subjective opinion that you have of your body when you picture yourself or look in the mirror. It involves your feelings, beliefs, perceptions, thoughts, and actions regarding your body.
Body image is a huge global issue, affecting even the likelihood of individuals socializing because of how they feel about themselves. As it is so widespread, it is important to be active in fighting intrusive and depressive thoughts about body image.
How to Encourage Positive Body Image
Do you feel you have impaired self esteem or loathe certain aspects of your body? Try these nine simple ways to encourage a positive body image.
- Talk back to those loud voices in your head that tell you your body is “bad,” “fat,” or “disgusting.” The next time you start to tear yourself down, build yourself back up with a few quick affirmations that work for you.
- Frequently remind yourself that there is no such thing as one “ideal” body weight based on your height. Each of us has a healthy weight based on our body type, bone structure, muscle mass, genetics, what weight we feel our best at, and what weight our body tends to want to maintain.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. You are your own person, and you are beautiful for it!
- Celebrate your body and the wonderful things it can do when you are healthy and fit. So often, we take these things for granted; if you are healthy, that is a reason to be happy!
- Move and enjoy your body! Go walking, swimming, biking, or even dancing. Challenge yourself by doing yoga, aerobics, and weight training. Do these things not because you have to but because they will help you feel healthy, strong, and energized.
- Surround yourself with people who have a healthy relationship with food, weight, and their bodies. It will make a difference in how you feel about yourself.
- Reclaim your own inner strength. Focus on the unique qualities and personality traits that make you a special and successful person!
- Nurture your inner and outer self. Pamper yourself with things/activities you find relaxing, be close to nature, and/or seek spiritual connection. Feeling good on the inside is key to feeling good on the outside.
- Examine the degree to which your self-esteem depends upon your appearance, and make yourself aware of it. Although it may seem natural to wish you looked like a fashion model or a body builder, basing your happiness on this desire may lead to feelings of failure.
Remember, we all have days when we feel self-conscious or uncomfortable in our bodies. The key to developing a positive body image is to respect and recognize our natural shape. Learn to conquer and replace those negative thoughts and feelings with positive, accepting, and affirming ones!
Learn how to change your negative beliefs about your body image with our Catch It, Change It & Rearrange It Worksheet.