According to American Psychological Association, healthy body image is the “mental picture one forms of one’s body as a whole, including its physical characteristics and one’s attitudes toward these characteristics”. It also includes how people see themselves when they look in the mirror feelings they have associated with this perception.
A number of recent studies suggest that living through a global pandemic has increased body dissatisfaction and poor eating habits. In addition to the pandemic, the surge in body editing app usage may also contribute to body image issues in both women and men.
According to research conducted by a sports nutrition company, Bulk, a shocking number of people are searching for ways to alter how they look. This alarming trend fuels a toxic culture that encourages people to alter their appearance to the extent that they look like a completely different person in pictures. In some cases, it can lead to serious mental health issues like body dysmorphia and eating disorders.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways you can maintain a healthy body image.
Being body positive and loving your own body is easier said than done. There are different ways you can work on body positivity and they may not all work for everyone, so you have to find the right methods for you. Below are some examples on how you can begin loving your own body.
Numerous studies showed that physical activity is great for mental health. Staying active releases chemicals in your brain, such as endorphins that make you feel good. Regular exercise can also contribute to stress relief, boosting your self-esteem and helping with sleep and concentration.
Stop comparing yourself to others! Acknowledge that everybody is different and true beauty comes from within. No one is truly perfect and one’s value is not determined by weight, shape, and size. Every person is a unique individual and has a place and a worth in the world regardless of appearances
Focus on things you like about yourself
Try to notice the things you love about your body and appreciate them. Embrace your unique body shape and features. Avoid focusing on things you don’t like about yourself when looking in the mirror. This will help you to cultivate positive thoughts and avoid feeling down about yourself.
Unfollow toxic social media accounts
Celebrities and influences are rarely honest about their images on social media. Remember that many images you see on social media are edited. Consider blocking accounts that promote negative body thoughts and unrealistic body image expectations. Surround yourself with positive people who won’t judge you for your looks. You’re more likely to feel good about yourself when people around focus on positivity rather than negativity.
Focus on overall health rather than weight
Remember that body positivity encourages inclusion. Focus on the overall fitness level of your body and what your body can do rather than physical appearance. Exercise because of the benefits the training has for your body such as improving strength and flexibility, not because you are unhappy with how you look.
Do something nice for your body
Your body is a temple. Don’t neglect healthy nutrition — eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated. Don’t forget to nurture your body and let it rest when you feel like you need it. Take a bubble bath, have a massage, or simply go for a walk and wear something nice that makes you feel good.