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POSITIVE BODY IMAGE

POSITIVE BODY IMAGE

Post by on Friday, June 11, 2021

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DR JANKHANA HAKANI

               We all have some image about ourselves in our mind. We all know how we feel and think about our body. It is usually mixed with both positive and negative thoughts and feelings. Many times one feeling is more than the other.  There are some things we like about ourselves and some things we don’t and wish it was a little different. This is called ‘Body Image’. It is our own thoughts and feelings. However, it is also influenced by external factors like people around us, social media, societal norms and acceptance and peer pressure.

 

 The 4 aspects of Body Image-

1.    PERCEPTION- The way you see yourself.

It is the way you think about how you look. It may not be a true representation of what your body actually looks like. For Example- You may think you are fat but in reality, you may be underweight.

 

2.    AFFECTIVE- How you feel about the way you look.

Do you like or dislike the way you look? Whether you are satisfied and content or dissatisfied with the way you look, with your body shape, size, weight, different body parts?

 

3.    COGNITIVE- The thoughts about your body.

The way you think about your body is your cognitive body image. For example, someone may think that they will feel better if they are thin and someone may think that they will feel better if they become more muscular.

 

4.    BEHAVIORAL- The things you do in relation to the way you look.

The way you behave and the behaviors in which you engage as per your body image is your Behavioral Body Image. For Example- When you feel you are fat, you want to become thin, you might exercise a lot and have disordered eating patterns. Or if you don’t like the way you look you may avoid going out or don’t buy new clothes. 

 

 

POSITIVE BODY IMAGE include –

accepting and appreciating the whole of one’s body, including how it looks and what it can do

having a broad concept of beauty

having a body image that is stable

         NEGATIVE BODY IMAGE include-

feeling uncomfortable or awkward in their body

feeling ashamed or embarrassed about the body shape/size/ weight/etc

comparing themselves with others and feel inadequate when doing so

lacking self- esteem and self confidence

see parts of their body, such as their nose, in a distorted way

 

What Causes Negative Body Image?

1.    Media- TV, Magazines, Social Media- Like Instagram, Facebook, etc create a picture perfect and flawless body image which is far from reality. This causes a vast difference between expectation and reality and creates an unachievable and unattainable “ideal body”. This comparison results in low self- esteem and negative body image, especially in teenage girls.

 

2.    Fashion Industry- create unhealthy body image by employing under weight models for displaying their products, thus, subtly implying and stressing on beauty being thin.

 

3.    Peer pressure- on being thin, to exercise and to go on diets.

 

4.    Societal norms- of being slim and fit to be beautiful.

 

5.    Cultural and ethnic differences- a tendency to judge and make fun of people who are overweight and having a larger body size/ long nose/ big ears/ fat lips/ unibrow, etc.

 

6.    Appearance teasing - people who are teased for their appearance, especially weight, regardless of actual appearance or weight, are at a greater risk of developing negative body dissatisfaction.

 

7.    Personality Traits- like high achievers, give high value to beauty ideals and appearances, having perfectionistic traits, those who tend to compare themselves to others, are at higher risk for negative body image.

 

8.    Females are more prone to body image dissatisfaction than males, though this scenario is changing in current times.

 

 

HOW TO ACHIEVE POSITIVE BODY IMAGE?

Positive body Image means Healthy Body Image, and this means you feel comfortable in your body and you feel good about the way you look.

1.    Associate with positive people- Surround yourself with positive people, who do not put you down, who do not tease you or taunt you, and especially appreciate you for your talents and like you as a person.

2.    Put up current pictures of yourself- These help you see how you look now.

3.    Replace Negative Thoughts with Positive ones- Anytime you have a negative thought about your body, replace it with a thought about the part of your body that you like.  Eg- I have huge thighs, replace them with- I have strong thighs, or I look good is A line skirt, or I have a good height, etc.

4.    Wear Clothes that suit your body type- Wear clothes that will compliment your body and make you feel good. Do not try to fit into clothes just because it looks good on a celebrity/ influencer/ a friend/ family. Each body type is different. What looks good on you, may not look good on someone else.

5.    Focus on non- beauty aspects of exercising - like, how much better you feel or how much your strength/ endurance and how rejuvenated you feel.

6.    Pamper your body- with massage/ warm water bath, apply body lotions, enjoy a steam and spa, etc.

7.    Make a list of things you love about yourself- that does not include body appearance. Eg- kindness, avid reader, good swimmer, compassionate, poet, good cook, good listener, eloquent, etc. Keep adding to this list as and when you remember more positives about yourself.

8.    Do not compare yourself to others- What is good for others may not be good or feasible for you.

9.    Be kind to yourself- Do not be too critical or harsh at judging yourself. Be accepting and accepting to your own self.

10.                       Get support- if all fails and you are still struggling with Negative Body Image, ask for help from a professional psychiatrist.

 

“My smile is my favourite part of my body. I think a smile can make your whole body. I want women to know that it’s ok. That you can be whatever size you are and be beautiful inside and out.” Serena Williams

 

In words of Oprah Winfrey-

“This is a call to arms. A call to be gentle, to be forgiving, to be generous with yourself. The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the story line that says you’re too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see your face. When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step toward transforming your experience of the world.”

 

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