Your body hears everything your mind says. Why is body image so important? The way in which you view your body impacts your emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Negative consequences such as eating disorders, obesity and depression can arise when your self image is persistently poor and you lack appreciation for your body. Studies show that the more a person focuses on their body, the worse they feel about their looks. Other factors like personality traits, genetic make-up, family, friends and social media also influence body image. What would it look like if social media played a more positive role, instead of a negative one, when it comes to body image? How can we begin thinking, talking, and posting about ourselves in a way that encourages ourselves to love our bodies and others to do the same?
Practicing positive self-talk is a great starting place. Become aware of the language you use when you talk to yourself. Journaling can often be helpful to bring about this awareness. If you find your language to be harsh and negative, try stopping the thoughts by putting your focus on something else. One helpful next step is to begin making more neutral or positive statements. For example, instead of criticizing how a certain body part looks, state what that body part allows you to do. My legs allow me to walk, run, or play a sport. In time, transition the self-talk to be positive: I love my legs because they are strong.
Assess your social media use. How much time, each day, do you spend on social media? How do you use social media? What’s the purpose? Who do you follow, like or tweet about and why? Are the images and messages you see on a daily basis helping you feel good about yourself or are they perpetuating feelings of not being good enough? Challenge yourself to unfollow or defriend accounts that don’t support your goals of feeling good about yourself and being the best version of you. Doing so will have a positive impact on your life and the life of others.