Poor body image can have a greater impact on your quality of life than you may realise. A few negative thoughts here and there can soon escalate, resulting in social withdrawal, anxiety and depression. Retrain yourself to love your body with our 8 steps to better body confidence.
Negative body image isn’t a subject that should be taken lightly. It’s effects can take a significant toll on the body, both physically and emotionally. Sufferers often become so consumed by the idea of the ‘perfect body’ that they forget what’s healthy and set unrealistic goals for themselves, leading to further emotional distress and disappointment. Women are the most guilty of not accepting and appreciating their body type. According to the charity DoSomething.org, “approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies” and from those surveyed, “more than 40% of women and around 20% of men agreed they would consider cosmetic surgery in the future.”
So much time and money is wasted on poor body confidence. Let’s try to rectify that.
Fake it till you make it
You may have met individuals who aren’t conventionally good looking, yet still have heads turning as they enter a room. That’s because body confidence is attractive, and if you love the way you look, so will everybody else.
After years of self deprecation, ditching your negative mindset can seem impossible. So start by faking it. When you catch yourself in the mirror don’t pick up on every single flaw. Instead tell yourself that you’re beautiful. Carrying yourself with confidence will eventually become second nature to you and you’ll feel much better about yourself.
You’re your best friend
When your inner voice starts to bad mouth the way you look, stop and ask yourself - would you speak to your best friend like that? Or how would you feel if you heard someone else talking to them like that? Sometimes we don’t give ourselves the respect we deserve. Whenever you’re tempted to call yourself derogatory names, hit the pause button and switch it to something complimentary. You deserve better.
Trade negative for positive
Not just your thoughts, everything. If certain friends or family members only have negative things to say or make comments that hurt your feelings, steer clear. Surround yourself with people who support you and only want the best for you. People who project negativity and nastiness are massively insecure and say mean things to make themselves feel better.
Find new friends who are fun to be around and don’t put you down. Getting out there and socialising can be a huge confidence boost.
Sign out of social media
Scrolling through Facebook can be an unhealthy distraction if you’re suffering from poor body confidence. Social media isn’t a reality, it’s just all the bits your friends want you to see. So don’t get swept up in the ‘great things they’re getting up to’ or ‘how amazing they look.’ Concentrate on yourself. They have down days too, we’re sure of it.
Try to find a hobby/positive outlet that stops you from overthinking.Take up reading and spend some time away from the screen. Maddy Malhotra’s ‘How to Build Self-Esteem and Be Confident’ is a good choice if you’re struggling to banish your inner critic.
Find a workout you love
Science agrees that exercise is a certified mood booster. Once the endorphins kick-in (the happy hormones) there’s no room for low self esteem. The tricky part is staying motivated. If the gym doesn’t keep you engaged, branch out and find a workout that really appeals to you. This way, you’re exercising purely for the love of the doing the sport and not to attain a specific weight or look.
Don’t confine yourself to the treadmill, get creative. Join a local football team, give hula hooping classes your best shot. Always fancied roller derby? There’s no time like the present.
When you’ve low self esteem, it’s easy to fall into the habit of wearing things that hide your body. Whilst it’s wise to dress for your shape, you shouldn’t shy away from wearing clothes that you like and make you feel good. Revamp your wardrobe with clothes that you feel both comfortable and stylish in. You’re your own worst enemy at times and sometimes life’s little luxuries can be just the pick-me-up you need to feel amazing. Go for a massage, try out that new hairstyle. Never underestimate the power of a good pampering session.
Getting hung up on the way you look is a waste of precious time and energy, and sometimes, it takes something pretty drastic to put things into perspective. Rather focusing on the bad, make a list of what you’re thankful for - those closest to you, your career, your home, your health. Others dream of having what you’ve got.
Take the time to be mindful and appreciative of all the lovely things in your life right this moment, and how you can nourish them even further in the future.
Seek professional help
Wanting to lose weight isn’t a bad thing if it’s a healthy decision. But when you’re need for perfection becomes obsessive and no amount of positive thinking can eradicate those bad feelings, it’s time to seek medical advice. Sometimes, other underlying issues are the root of the problem and only once they’re dealt with can you successfully take the steps you need to be body confident. Talk to someone.