Body image refers to how an individual sees their own body, and especially how attractive they feel themselves to be. A large majority of men and women are concerned about their body image. Body image is not just what we see in the mirror. It involves memories, assumptions, and generalizations, according to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA). Throughout history, humans have given importance to the beauty of the human body. Society, media, and popular culture often shape how a person sees their own body, but popular standards are not always helpful.
Constant bombardment by media images can cause people to feel uncomfortable about their body, and this can lead to distress, illness and unhealthy behaviour. It can affect how we interact with others, and how we feel about many aspects of our life. It can be positive or negative. A negative body image is frequently linked to disorders such as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), body integrity identity disorder, and eating disorders. A negative body image can arise when a person feels that their looks do not measure up to what society, family, friends, and the media expect. They may frequently compare themselves with others, and they may feel inadequate when doing so. They may feel ashamed, embarrassed, and lacking in confidence. They often feel uncomfortable and awkward in their body.
A person with a positive body image has a true and clear perception of their body shape and appearance that other people would agree with. The person is happy about the way they look, and they accept and feel good about their body and their appearance, even if it does not match what the media, family, or friends suggest is desirable.
Some tips to improve your body image are:
- Celebrate what your body can do: run, swim, dance, sing, and so on
- List 10 things you like about yourself and pin it up where you can see it
- Remember that beauty is not just about appearances
- See yourself in the mirror as a whole person, not as a nose or a thigh
- Think positive: Overpower negative messages with positive ones
- Wear comfortable clothes that look good on you