Negative Body Image

I felt like I needed to touch on the subject of negative body image and the impact negative body image has on your mental health.

As a child, this issue has always been around and at times has affected me, especially around my weight and not wanting to engage in physical activity including sports at school.

With social media being overly present these days and access to these platforms which are with us every second of the day, alarmingly with children so young using these platforms and being affected at these young ages just scares me, having young children myself. This issue strikes particularly close to home, and it is concerning to see such a vulnerable age group being negatively influenced by these platforms.

I want to be clear that I am in no way a professional, doctor, or counselor, and that the insights I share are based solely on my personal experience.

While I hope that my perspective can offer some value and support, I strongly recommend seeking advice from qualified professionals for any mental health concerns.

Please do not take my words as medical advice or a substitute for professional guidance.

My aim is to speak freely about what we experience with the impact of negative body image and in fact other challenges we face in our life, in the hope we can all feel comfortable in our own skin and body.

Body image is a complex topic that affects people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.

The term body image refers to the way you think about your body. This can have a significant impact on your self-esteem, confidence, mindset, and your overall well-being.

One of the biggest issues with body image is the unrealistic and highly photoshopped images that we are constantly bombarded with in the media.

From fashion magazines to social media, we are constantly presented with images of “perfect” bodies that are often achieved through the use of editors and other digital techniques.

These images can make us feel as if we are not good enough, or that we need to strive for an impossible standard of beauty.

Another issue surrounding body image is the expectation of women expected to be thin and toned, while men are expected to be muscular and athletic.

These expectations can create a lot of pressure and can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth.

Understanding Body Image and Its Impact on Your Mental Health

Body image, or mental image, is how you view your physical appearance.

It is built upon your feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions about your body.

Body image can have a significant impact on your mental health, and it is important to understand how it can affect you and others in different ways.

The Impact of Negative Body Image on Your Mental Health

Negative body image is a common experience for many people, and unfortunately, you have probably experienced it before in your life.

In fact, Road to Growth Council has mentioned in their article that an estimated 91% of people have experienced the impact of negative body image.

The impact of negative body image can lead to a range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.

Symptoms often experienced with negative body image include, dissatisfaction with your body or specific body parts, you may have engaged in behaviours such as avoiding social situations, wearing baggy clothes to hide your body, or may even experience symptoms of an eating disorder eating or exercise habits.

Negative body image can lead to social isolation, low self-esteem, and an overall negative perception of oneself. These feelings can have a profound impact on mental health, leading to anxiety and depression.

Issues with Negative Body Image

Negative Self-Perception

Negative self-perception relates to the way you view and evaluate your own body. Feelings can include dissatisfaction, inadequacy, and low self-esteem.

Unrealistic Beauty Standards

Media and social pressures form part of unrealistic beauty expectations and a real body image issue, as it contributes towards forming an obsession with achieving an unrealistic body type and worst trying to keep it up.


Comparison is another major body image issue I constantly find myself comparing myself to others.

Eating Disorders

I am lucky enough to have never experienced this myself, but I know this affects a lot of people, in particular in younger age groups and again body image issues are a cause that includes eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder.

Social Isolation

Social isolation can be a common result of body image issues.

People who struggle with negative body image often feel self-conscious and anxious about their appearance. This can make it difficult to socialise or participate in activities that involve showing their body or being around others.

Difficulty in Engaging in Physical Activities

I know firsthand, in particular in high school when I was overweight and lacking in self-confidence, I would avoid physical activities so I didn’t have to be seen in front of others.

I’m here today to remind you that it’s important to remember that your body is unique and that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to health and beauty.

Remember to focus on the positives about your body and what your body can do, rather than how it compares to others.

As long as you are keeping a healthy lifestyle daily with regular exercise, eating a healthy and balanced diet, practicing self-care, and surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people, that’s all that matters.

Anxiety and Depression

We can all suffer from anxiety or depression from time to time, whether that’s the busy schedules we face on a daily basis or the contributing factors we see on social media.

Negative body image can be an impact and contributor to the development of anxiety and depression and can make symptoms of these conditions worse.

Negative Body Image
Negative Body Image

Ways to Overcome Negative Body Image

Practice Self-Compassion

Changing your mindset to a more positive way of thinking by treating yourself the same way you would a family member or friend with kindness instead of criticising yourself and thinking negatively about yourself and the things you do in life.

Challenge Negative Thoughts

When negative thoughts arise about your body, stop the negative thoughts by changing them into a positive way of thinking.

Reframe Your Thinking

Instead of focusing on the negative and what you dislike about your body, instead, try and focus on all the positive things about your body and what you appreciate about it.

Surround Yourself with Positive People

When you surround yourself with positive thinking and supportive people, you are more likely to inherit and build your positive mindset and also build your self-esteem.

Engage in Regular Exercise

Regular exercise has so many wonderful benefits not only for your physical health but also does wonders for your mental health.

Exercising has been proven to help with your self-confidence, improve your mood, and help you to feel better about yourself.

Focus on Self-Care

Again and again, you will see me writing about scheduling self-care into your day. Practicing self-care can also help when you are experiencing negative body issues as self-care has been linked to improving sleep, stress management, and also healthy eating.

Limit Exposure to Unrealistic Images

This seems like an easy solution but if you are like me, I find it really hard not to pick my phone up and open up my social media platforms.

I find using my daily planner to schedule my day and activities in can help to manage my time and stop unwanted scrolling and being exposed to these issues.

Practice Gratitude

Again, another of my highly mentioned activities as I really do think this helps. Practicing gratitude by making a list of things you are grateful for, including your body is a great starting point.

Educate Yourself

Education and learning about the ways that social media tends to portray images and the way they use techniques to brush them up can highlight how unnormal they are, and a way to evaluate the messages they send.

Seek Professional Help

If negative body image is impacting your life, seek professional help from a therapist or counsellor who can help you to work through your feelings and develop healthy coping strategies.

There is a silver lining and talking to someone can really help to take some pressure off and start to understand and cope.

It’s important to remember that seeking help is not a sign of weakness, and it’s okay to ask for help when you need it.

It’s important to understand that negative body image can have a wide range of negative effects and it’s important to address this issue before it causes serious health consequences.

Developing a Positive Body Image

Developing a positive body image is not about achieving a specific weight or body shape but rather focusing on self-acceptance and self-love. Loving the body and features you have and embracing them.

One way to improve your body image is to focus on self-compassion.

Self-compassion is when you are treating yourself with kindness, care, understanding, and with empathy, especially during difficult times or moments of suffering.

Instead of judging yourself, try to practice self-compassion.

Ways to implement and practice self-compassion can include,

Remember that you are not alone in your struggles with the impact of negative body image and that many people struggle with similar feelings and emotions.

The impact of negative body image is a complex issue that affects many people, and at one point you may have experienced it too.

It’s important to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect body and that everyone’s body is unique and different.

Be sure to focus on self-care and self-compassion to improve your feelings and acceptance of your body image.

Surround yourself with positive and supportive people that make you feel good and feel accepted and beautiful.

You are beautiful, you are worthy and you are amazing!

I truly mean that.

Amy xx

I want to be clear that I am in no way a professional, doctor, or counselor, and that the insights I share are based solely on my personal experience.

While I hope that my perspective can offer some value and support, I strongly recommend seeking advice from qualified professionals for any mental health concerns.

Please do not take my words as medical advice or a substitute for professional guidance

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