Here’s How Your Body Image Affects Your Mental and Physical Health
Are you a body positive person? Do you love every inch of your skin? While being confident in yourself is often easier said than done, it’s a crucial part of your lifestyle. Did you know that your body image can affect both your physical and mental health? It’s true! Here’s what you need to know.
What the latest research says…
New research from the University of Missouri Health found that having a negative body image could actually be bad for your health. Ramseyer Winter, a University of Missouri assistant professor and researcher, conducted a study to see what implications a woman’s body image had for the other areas of her life.
The results showed that having a negative body image could have a damaging impact. For example, the women who saw themselves in a negative way and were unhappy with the shape or size of their body were more likely to engage in ‘risky behaviors.’
“For many women, their views of their body are influenced by mainstream popular culture, however unrealistic those images may be,” said Winter. “This leads a majority of women, regardless of their size, to be dissatisfied with their body, even when they know they are comparing their bodies to unrealistic ideals. This is significant as women who have negative views of their bodies are at greater risk to engage in risky behaviors.”
According to Winter, those behaviors could include alcohol and substance abuse as well as risky sexual encounters. These habits could quickly lead to both physical and mental health issues. For instance, failing to practice safe sex could mean that a person is at greater risk of contracting illnesses. In the same respect, substance abuse can damage a person’s mind as well as impact their overall health.
Despite how devastating this research may sound, there is a way to harness its power. Winter notes that, rather than seeing this as a negative study, it’s worth using the information for good and trying to boost your body image one step at a time. Doing so means improving your mental health as well as your well-being on a real level.
How to boost your body image
Now that you know the facts, it’s time to talk about the solution. Boosting your body image isn’t just about feeling confident and beautiful. It’s one of the best things you can do for your body and one of the easiest ways to improve your mental well-being. So, where should you start? While we don’t have all the answers, here are just a few ideas that you might want to try for yourself.
Take care of your body
Do you take good care of your body? It might sound like a silly question, but it’s something that you absolutely need to consider. When you look after your physical health, you will find that you gain a newfound respect for your body. For example, you could practice regular fitness sessions or just make just that you are generally active each day.
Want to improve your relationship with yourself? The answer is staring you right in the face. Self-care is a lifestyle choice. It could be as simple as giving yourself a little time to relax each evening or taking a longer bath than you usually would. It’s about putting your needs first now and then. Giving yourself a break is the easiest place to start. You’re not a superhero so, if the dishes have to wait until tomorrow, they have to wait. Simple.
Avoid your triggers
Do you get triggered by social media or magazines? There are loads of damaging images of women out there. If you find yourself getting anxious when you’re scrolling through your timeline, there’s an easy way to solve that very problem. Just switch off. Avoid the things that make you feel uncomfortable and upset. You have control over what you spend your time doing. Get off social media and have a break from it all.
Change your mind
Here’s a secret – your body image is all in your mind. If you start thinking negatively about the way that you look, it’s hard to get out of that pattern. When you keep thinking the same thing over and over again, it becomes your truth. Challenge your thoughts and – literally – change your mind. Stop being so hard on yourself and focus on what makes you beautiful.
Changing your body image won’t happen overnight. It won’t happen in a week. This is a continual journal that keeps changing each and every day. You need to take charge and work on yourself all of the time. Doing so could have a dramatic impact on your life and how you feel. Take action and make a positive change today.