In a world where societal standards often impose how we should look, nurturing a positive body image becomes a vital feature of self-care. “How do I look?” People often ask others to answer this question. Individuals with a positive body image are self-confident about their appearance, regardless of what others think. In this blog the term body image refers to one's thoughts, perception, and feelings about their own body. Having a positive body image means you are comfortable with your physical appearance and appreciate that you are more than your physical attributes.
A positive body image starts with self-acceptance and self-belief. It plays an important role in mental and emotional well-being.
Practical steps and recommendations from psychologists and doctors to foster a positive body image include:
- Appreciate everything your body is capable of doing
- List what you like about yourself
- Surround yourself with positive and supportive people
- Do something nice for your body
- Take care of yourself
- Remind yourself that no one is perfect
- Beware of advertising
- Choose and wear clothes based on your personal preference
Appreciate everything your body is capable of doing
Your perspective determine how much you appreciate your body. Time and again, people base their body image on what they can’t do instead of what they can.
You may be a great dancer, no matter what you weigh. Scars and birthmarks do not define if you are a good friend or conclude if you will fall in love. The color of your eyes doesn’t determine how well you cook or play the piano. The way you decide to style your hair doesn’t define you academically. Your body, and mind, can do great things, irrespective of how you look.
List what you like about yourself
Avoid self-criticism and negative self-talk and remember that you are more than how you look. Make a list of 10 things you like about yourself that don’t have to do with how you look. Do you smile often, are you a fast reader, or are you great at crafts and DIY? Look at yourself through a lens of self-compassion and see yourself as a whole person, not just your external appearance. Your attitude about yourself will likely be reflected in how you view your body image, so try to treat yourself with kindness. Celebrate your personal strengths. Shift the emphasis from physical attributes to your personal accomplishments and talents.
Surround yourself with positive and supportive people
Find friends that accept you for who you are, not how you look. Surround yourself with positive influences. Limit time with people who are obsessed with their looks and that make you feel bad about yourself. Being around individuals who encourage self-acceptance and celebrate diverse bodies can create a nurturing environment for the development of a positive body image.Positive people tend to lift each other’s spirits and find the good in circumstances. Do not allow negative people to destroy the image you have of yourself.
Do something nice for your body
Prioritizing health over appearance and make time to nourish your body. You deserve to relax, walk through the park, or get a massage, regardless of how you think you look. Doing something nice for your body may improve your body image. Practices like mindfulness can help you develop a sense of body awareness and help individuals tune into their body's needs and sensations. Having a positive body image means you care enough about yourself to treat yourself well and enjoy life.
Take care of yourself
The goal of healthy eating and exercise should be to make you feel good. You can improve your body image by taking good care of yourself and feeling confident in your health.
A balanced diet and regular exercise not only contribute to physical well-being but also enhance overall confidence and body appreciation. A healthy diet for instance improves your energy, physical ability, and protects against disease. You get the benefits of healthy eating no matter what your body looks like.
Exercises like stretching and walking help improve how you feel and move. Playing group sports is a healthy social activity that not only benefits your body, but can also increase your emotional connection to others.
Remind yourself that no one is perfect
Celebrating your unique shape and size. Embrace imperfections as a natural part of being human. Be aware that most people have something about themselves they would like to change or improve. Having a positive body image allows you to live your life and reach your goals without letting how you look stop you. Remember that there is no one definition of beauty. Every person possesses unique qualities that contribute to their definition of beauty and worth. People with all types of body styles can accomplish their goals and succeed in life.
Beware of advertising
Don’t compare yourself to the images you see on advertisements, social and other media. Challenge unrealistic beauty standards. Companies often create advertising to make you feel that you need their product to feel beautiful. Your body image or your perception of beauty shouldn’t be based on what beauty product you use or a number on a scale, but rather on the unique qualities that make each person distinct.
Choose and wear clothes based on your personal preference
Select clothes that are comfortable and reflect your style. If you’re uncomfortable wearing certain clothes, it will affect the way you feel about yourself. People of all different weights and body types can express their unique fashion style. Your body image will be more positive if you like and are comfortable with what you wear.
Cultivating a positive body image is an ongoing journey of self-discovery and acceptance. You can have a positive body image no matter what size, shape, or type of body you have. Treat yourself well, celebrate your unique attributes and consider yourself as a whole person with inherent value beyond physical attributes.
This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy. This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.