Right now, thousands of things are happening at once inside your body, helping you read these words, take in air as you breathe, and keeping you going.
Your body is an incredible machine. But sometimes you can forget all the good your body does for you and judge it harshly on appearance. Body image is the mental representation an individual creates of themselves. But it doesn’t always match up with how you actually appear. Body image can be distorted by early experiences, the attitudes of parents when growing up, and internal elements such as emotion and mood.
Severe poor body image is called body dysmorphic disorder, where perceived defects in appearance become an obsession. Poor body image can affect many aspects of life, including self-esteem, career performance, relationship satisfaction, and overall quality of life.
Thoughts and opinions about your body start forming as early as 3 years old.
If you have a negative body image, how can you overcome it?
- Consider what your body does for you. Your legs take you where you need to go. Your arms let you hold the people you love. Write down the things your body does that you’re grateful for.
- A trusted friend or family member can help you discuss your feelings and discourage negative self-talk.
- Engage in positive activities, such as eating healthy meals and exercising.
If you’re struggling with severe symptoms, a therapist or psychologist could help you.