Our Advice Centre is open today from 10am – 8pm
1st April 2023
What is body image?
Body image is what we think and see about our body and how we feel others view our body. These thoughts can change over, getting better or worse, then switching again and it’s completely normal for that to happen. There’s no aspect of our body that is ruled out from this either, it can be about anything from the size and shape of your body, to hair colour, spots, skin complexion and so on.
It affects everyone differently, too. Some people might have no body image issues, some might be able to brush it off, and for some it might affect their normal, everyday life.
Having a negative body image for a long time can lead to Body Dysmorphic Disorder, an anxiety disorder where negative thoughts and actions because of worries about your body cause significant disruption to your daily life. Find out more about Body Dysmorphic Disorder on Mind here.
What causes negative body image?
Having low self-esteem causes us to be harder on ourselves and makes it easier to find what we see as ‘imperfections’ in our lives including, including on our bodies. It also makes it harder for us to find the good bits of ourselves, as we generally have a more negative outlook on life.
To find out more about self-esteem, you can listen to our podcast episode on it, here.
This links to self-esteem, as being bullied brings down your self-esteem. If you are being bullied because of your body, this can lead to you hating your body and not feeling comfortable in it.
Our bodies change massively when going through puberty. Everyone goes through at a different pace. It’s easy to compare to friends and schoolmates and feel self-conscious if our body hasn’t developed as much as others’.
Social media and societal views
Social media and general society have unrealistic expectations of what a ‘healthy’ or ‘good’ body should look like. People with what society views as a ‘good’ body get more likes and praise than those with an ‘ugly’ body.
How can I change the way I feel about my body?
The first step to anything is always acceptance. To have a positive body image, you first need to accept you body.
Think about the inside, not the outside
Think about the inside of your body and who you are as a person. This can help you think more positively about yourself.
Change the way you use social media
Spend less time on it and unfollow accounts that make you feel bad about yourself
Talk to someone
Talking to someone is the best way to
If you like any parts of your body, focus on those
How can I help someone with negative body image?
You might think that it’ll be helpful to complement someone who is struggling with their body image on their looks, but this isn’t always the case. It’s better to compliment them on who they are as a person, rather than their looks, to make them feel appreciated for something other than just what they look like.
Letting them know you’re there and are willing to listen and support them will help them open up and feel more confident about facing their issues.
I want to talk to someone and find out more
You can talk to us in person, on the phone or online. We’re available six days a week. Click here to see when we’re around
Other helpful organisations
Body Image – Young Minds
Body image and mental health – Mental Health Foundation
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