We live in times when our appearance seems to be sometimes more important than our personality, intelligence or sense of humour. We see perfect pictures of models on covers of magazines, we carefully create our social media image, and still there is something missing. Sounds familiar?
Many researches have proven that negative body image may lead to eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia. Those problems may not come across as yours, but negative body image may still make you miserable, anxious about constant judgement, uncomfortable about your appearance or jealous of other people’s bodies.
Body positivity is a movement promoting love and respect for the body. As psychologists define it, it allows individuals to accept and admire uniqueness of their body, as well as feeling comfortable, beautiful and happy with their body. People, who have a positive image of their bodies, can understand needs of their body and focus on the advantages rather than disadvantages of their looks. In other words, body positivity involves your emotions, thoughts and behaviour. Body positivity can make you more optimistic and confident. This idea sounds appealing, but how to make it happen? Here are some tips that might help you achieve a positive image of your body!
- Surround yourself with people who have a positive body image. Social support is one of the most important factors, when it comes to reaching your goals. Avoid people who are obsessed with weight or appearance-related issues. Instead, try to spend time with those who emphasise other factors, like inner strength and beauty.
- Speak well about yourself. People with a positive body image not only accept their bodies, but also express their thoughts and feelings about it. If you like something about your look, say it! To your friend, family member or even on your social media. There is nothing wrong with appreciating your best qualities.
- Reframe your perceived flaws. Stop wasting your time and energy on qualities that bother you. Ask your loved ones- they will probably tell you, that they love this gap between your teeth or your weirdly-shaped ears. Understand, that even your imperfections make you unique and can be lovable.
- Take care of your body, with respect and love. Try to eat healthy – not to lose on weight, but to treat your body as your best friend. Respond to natural sings of hunger or satiety cues. Do not restrict food and do not overeat in times of stress.
- Limit time spent on social media. Positive body image manifests also through understanding, that some of things presented on social media are unrealistic and created by whole teams of professionals. Remember, that what you see on Instagram and Facebook is usually a carefully created media image.
To conclude, body positivity benefits your well-being, boosts your confidence and helps you feel better about yourself. People who present a positive body image, are less likely to suffer from eating disorders or low self-esteem. Try to apply these few tips in your everyday life and you will see the difference.
Wood-Barcalow, N. L., Tylka, T. L., & Augustus-Horvath, C. L. (2010). “But I like my body”: Positive body image characteristics and a holistic model for young-adult women. Body Image, 7(2), 106-116.
Magda Domańska is a master’s-degree student at the University of Warsaw, Poland. She is interested in educational psychology and family therapy. She is participating in a summer internship programme at Willingness.com.mt.