How to Handle Body Image Problems?

A person’s perception of their physical attractiveness and level of physical attractiveness is known as their body image. Body image worries are a common issue. These concerns frequently revolve around a person’s size, shape, weight, skin, or hair.

But what we see in the mirror is not the only source of how we perceive our bodies. According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), various presumptions, experiences, and preconceptions are also involved.

People have valued the beauty of the human body throughout history. These beliefs are frequently influenced by society, the media, social media, and popular culture, all of which have the power to alter how an individual views their own body.

People who are exposed to media images on a regular basis may experience body insecurities, which can be stressful and unhealthy. It might also have an effect on other areas of life, like work and relationships with others.

BEHAVIOURAL HEALTH AND BODY IMAGE

When a person has a negative body image, they are more likely to engage in unhealthy lifestyle habits like dieting or restrictive eating, excessive exercise, and other disordered eating or weight control behaviours.

Dieting can lead to the development of an eating disorder. Research suggests that even “moderate” dieting increases the risk of eating disorders in young girls. Dieting can have serious negative effects on physical health, even though it is socially acceptable. Most people who lose weight through dieting eventually gain it back. Dieting is not sustainable. As an alternative, one should strive to be flexible with their diet and focus on consuming a variety of foods for enjoyment and nutrition.

A GOOD BODY IMAGE

A person who has a positive body image is one who has a deep love and respect for their body, which enables them to:

(a) Acknowledge the unique beauty of their bodies and the roles they play in their lives.

(b) Accept their bodies, even the parts that defy idealised representations, and even admire them.

(c) Have positive body image, self-assurance, and happiness, which frequently manifests as an outward “glow” or radiance.

(d) Concentrate on the positive aspects of their body rather than dwell on the negative aspects.

(e) Reframe or reject the majority of the negative information while internalising the majority of the positive information in order to protect their body.

MEN’S BODY IMAGE CONCERNS

Men are now more likely than ever to struggle with “muscle dysmorphia,” eating disorders, and issues related to excessive exercise. Young adults frequently struggle with male body image, which is made worse by the unrealistic standards that the media and social media set.

Male body image issues don’t just appear out of nowhere. Mental health conditions and low self-esteem in men frequently contribute to these unhealthy behaviours and co-occurring disorders. A meta-analysis of 23 studies, the majority of which involved young males at Western universities, found a strong correlation between anxiety and depression and problems with male body image.

Men can benefit from the following advice to find healthy coping mechanisms for body image problems:

If you want to avoid making unfair social comparisons, cut back on your social media use or change what shows up in your feed.
Find safe spaces where you can talk about and be open about your struggles with negative body image.
By participating in non-body-image-related activities such as volunteering, nature excursions, and creative expression, men can develop a strong sense of self and a healthy masculinity.
Make a commitment to yourself to respect your body by eating well, exercising moderately, and abstaining from drug use and extreme diets.
In order to recover from the stress, hopelessness, trauma, and suicidal thoughts associated with male body image issues, young men may need mental health care. Modalities like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, mindfulness exercises, and Attachment-Based Family Therapy, which support the development of better habits and coping mechanisms in young people with low self-esteem, can be helpful.

CONCERNS WITH BODY IMAGE AMONG WOMEN

Women frequently experience pressure to adhere to an idealised body type because their personal, social, and cultural experiences have an impact on how they perceive their bodies. The airbrushed perfection that the media portrays is, regrettably, something that very few people, if any, can actually achieve.

Many females have an inaccurate perception of their appearance and frequently believe they are larger and thicker than they actually are. The combined effects of being caught in a cycle of dieting and ongoing failure and guilt are felt by them. Sometimes, this can lead to eating disorders, disordered eating habits, and negative effects on general physical health.

Body image may influence how a woman feels about working out. Women may decide not to exercise if they are self-conscious or uncomfortable with their appearance, size, or form. They might think that engaging in particular activities or being active exposes their bodies to the public. As an alternative, a woman may overexert herself physically or work out excessively in an effort to lose weight or change their body type. Frequent physical activity needs to be joyful and enjoyable in order to maintain or improve physical fitness. This is what it means to have a positive relationship with exercise. Instead of focusing on losing weight or changing the size or shape of your body, try to consider the benefits of physical activity for your physical, mental, and social health.

These advice can assist women in developing healthy coping mechanisms for problems with their body image:

Consider your experiences as you try to comprehend how your body image has evolved over the course of your life.
Celebrate the positive qualities, skills, and interests you have as a person rather than focusing on aspects of your appearance.
Take a break from women’s media, including social media, and publications. You can avoid engaging with messages that are centred on appearance by filtering your social media feed.
Change your eating and exercise goals to improve your health rather than concentrating on weight loss.

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