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Powerful Ways To Improve Your Body Image

Discover key tips to be kind to your body

Do you feel:

  • If you lose or gain some weight, will you be worthier?

  • If you have a slightly brighter or darker skin tone, will you look better?

  • If you could just alter some parts of your face, will people start accepting you?

It’s natural to look out for your physical appearance if you begin to develop self-consciousness, but it’s also important to note that body image is more than just a reflection in your mirror.

What is Body Image?

How you perceive and engage with your body and what you feel and think about your body constitute your body image. If you answered yes to any of the questions above, chances are you have a negative body image. Although it may seem like a trivial matter, a survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that about 82% of adults are dissatisfied with their appearance, which causes significant distress in one’s day-to-day life.

National Eating Disorders Collaboration has stated that you can be dissatisfied with some features of your body while being receptive to its flaws, which implies you have a positive body image.

However, when body dissatisfaction starts affecting your cognition and emotional state, it jeopardises your mental health, thus making you prone to anxiety, depression, unhealthy eating habits, eating disorders, and even body dysmorphic disorder.

How to Overcome a Negative Body Image

1) Self-awareness is Godly

It has to begin with you. Despite your views on the standard of beauty stemming from external factors such as the environment, culture, or society, it takes you before anyone else to decide what an ideal body is (if there even is one) and what needs to be satisfied. By cultivating self-awareness through judgement-free thoughts about your body, you allow yourself to make the distinction between negative feelings and the real sensations you experience in your body.

A Harvard Business Review article believes that asking the right introspective questions to improve self-awareness helps to “examine the causes of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours." For example, when dealing with image insecurities, rather than asking “Why do I feel terrible about my body?” Consider “What is causing me to feel terrible and what characteristics do they share?" Therefore, instead of asking “why,” which operates from our prejudiced minds, practise asking “what.” “What” allows you to view your image issues through an objective lens to make mindful insights towards body positivity.

2) Avoid the Thief of Joy

It’s tempting to draw comparisons with people who seem to have the image and appearance you desire, but that’s nothing short of a recipe for misery. This type of behaviour is often seen scrolling through posts on social media while gradually developing an image disturbance. It’s important to note that a picture paints a thousand words, and what is shown to you is often a highly edited version of reality. Just as the media has been taking great measures to promote a positive body image in the current day, it still thrives on marketing unrealistic fashion or beauty standards, which drives both men and women to compare themselves negatively to others.

By applying Tip No. 1, you will not only accept yourself the way you are but also identify and address the triggers that are causing you to compare yourself to others, be they fellow peers or public figures. Set boundaries for your screen time and your access to media that evoke any negative feelings about your body.

3) Nature is Healing

Following Tip No. 2, what can you do after your screen time is up? A recent study by Viren Swami, a professor of social psychology at Anglia Ruskin University, confirmed that immersing yourself in nature gives you liberation from self-esteem problems related to body image. Nature soothes the psychosocial causes of body image threats and allows you the space for positive and rational thinking to promote self-worth that is indifferent to your external image.

By actively involving yourself in nature’s presence, you become more attuned to the function of your body, which leads to two things: you appreciate your body for what it can do, and you begin working towards providing the care it requires to sustain, if not improve, its functionality. Prioritising your access to nature is more beneficial for your mind, body, and soul to promote a positive body image, and hey, it’s also free. So, saunter away down the beach, hike up the mountain, or sit on the park bench.

4) Food is our Friend

Treat your body like you want someone to treat you: with kindness, compassion, and nourishment. Negative body image is frequently linked to unhealthy eating habits. How can you provide the function for your body that is mentioned in Tip No. 3, if you are deprived of food? In her podcast “Eat the Rules,” Summer Innanen, a body image coach, revealed that you are made to believe that if you are not doing things to lose weight, you are unhealthy. As a result, people have fused weight and health to indicate worthiness in society.

She also emphasised that eating in a way that makes you feel good rather than starving is one of the best forms of self-care you can give yourself. Positive body image only takes place when you honour your body’s needs with respect. Thus, eating with satisfaction in place of moderation gives you the trust between your body and mind to create a stress-free relationship with food.

Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight

For those dealing with chronic illness, it’s advisable to seek professional treatment such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which does a great deal of favour in beating severe anxiety around body image issues. CBT assists in identifying and changing negative thoughts, which are often overlooked as destructive behaviour for one’s body image.

Nothing worth having comes easily, and the steps you take to improve your body image issues are no exception. There are going to be days when you do not feel at your best, and that’s when you should be extra kind to yourself. You deserve to work on your image struggles at your own pace, provided you start somewhere. Bridging the gap between knowledge and practice for a positive body image is an invaluable investment you make for yourself because, as mentioned before, body image is multifaceted. Working on one aspect at a time helps ensure success with others.

For more support join our empathetic community, chat with a free trained listener, make progress through a community-driven growth path, or start affordable online therapy today


As an experienced Editor, Sushan copyedits academic articles, manages peer review processes, develops marketing materials, and makes editorial decisions for a growing academic journal in the field of social psychology. In addition to her English Education degree, she is pursuing her interest in digital marketing by taking online courses to learn copywriting and content creation.

Her first encounter with 7 Cups was in 2020 when she was looking for emotional support. Since then, she has graduated from 7 Cups Academy’s Content Development and Marketing Program. She is grateful for the exposure and opportunity this platform has provided her to apply what she has learned by contributing more content for self-help resources as well as enhancing her writing skills.

Posted: 16 October 2022
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