How's your body image? Are you attractive? Do you like the way you look? Do other people think you're beautiful? It's hard to talk about body image without sinking deep into our most vulnerable places. As standards of beauty become progressively less realistic (hello Instagram filters, goodbye pores), being able to have an honest conversation with ourselves about our looks becomes increasingly difficult. Yet we each live within our own, unique bodies every day–being able to look at them in a realistic (and non-damaging) way is a valuable tool towards understanding who we are, developing a healthy body image, and ultimately towards building self-esteem.
Body Image and Self-Esteem
Mindful social media habits are important skills to learn to protect our self-esteem. Social media allows us to get a glimpse into the lives of so many people. Unfortunately, constant updates about people’s vacations, weddings, job offers, graduations and newborns don’t always fill us with joy. In fact, being inundated with everyone else’s highlight reel can damage our mental health. Many studies have shown a link between social media use and low self-esteem. For example, a study published this year found that one hour spent on Facebook is associated with a decrease in an individual’s self-esteem score, which authors say is influenced by the social comparisons that people engage in.1 But there are ways to integrate mindful social media use so that you can protect your self-esteem.
Body confidence declines dramatically during the summer. The more skin you see, the more insecure you feel. This doesn't just affect females, or people who have struggled with eating disorders. Everyone is susceptible to lower body confidence, which can interfere with building self-esteem and feeling confident in other areas of your life.
If you struggle with body image issues it's likely that you feel insecure in other areas of your life, too. When you fixate and over-focus on what you don't like about your body it bleeds into your self-esteem. No matter your shape or your size you deserve to have the skills to combat body image issues and feel confident in the skin you're in.
Here are five TED Talks for confidence building and motivation. These short TED talks have helped millions of people and can help you, too.
Crash diets are a hazard to your self-esteem and they need to be stopped. There are many reasons why people might crash diet, such as wanting to lose weight or getting into shape. Others might be following the latest celebrity trend or taking health consciousness too far. No matter what, crash dieting is not the answer (A Starvation Diet's Toxic Thoughts). Note that the terms "crash diet"and “diet” are often used synonymously but there is a difference. Strictly speaking, diet is simply what you eat. It can be a healthy lifestyle habit and not necessarily a short-term way to lose weight. For your own wellbeing, stop crash dieting and create healthy habits for life.
Does your relationship with food need help? Do you worry or become anxious about all the mixed messages about diets? Improve your confidence with food now.
Exercise is a powerful way of building self-esteem. It’s a natural mood lifter, it provides a sense of accomplishment and it helps you to look and feel better about yourself. While it’s good for everyone, it’s particularly beneficial if you have a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you get moving. However, it can be challenging to start or maintain exercise especially when you don’t like exercise, don’t feel like it, you’re anxious, depressed, tired or busy. The good news is that there are many ways to exercise and it doesn’t have to be something you dread. You can find ways to exercise and build self-esteem at the same time.
A healthy body image is vital for a healthy self-esteem. It means being comfortable with your own body and it's your own perception. A poor body image can be damaging in so many ways. It's often associated with eating disorders, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and a range of other issues. The reality is that many people don’t like, or are ashamed of, their bodies.