For some people, negative body image can be the cause of mental health issues. For me, it’s a symptom. On my best days, I can stroll around, no make- up, wearing whatever I want and not think twice. On my worst days, I’m painfully aware of how much space I take up; convinced everyone is staring at me; completely uncomfortable in my own skin. And the thing is, I know it’s illogical – I can look back and laugh at how silly I sounded. So, how do we learn to recognise the harmful thoughts as they happen? How do we learn to care less?
Re- think how you’re using social media
It’s really not a revelation that social media can have a seriously negative impact on your mental health. We all know it. But we don’t really do anything about it. A year ago, my entire feed was taken up by amateur models, fit tea enthusiasts and plastic surgery doctors (yes, seriously). I’d think: ‘I wish I was as thin as her;’ or ‘How can I get another detox shake delivery without mum noticing’ or ‘One day I’ll be able to afford that treatment and then I can stop hating my jawline’. It doesn’t take a genius to work out how unhealthy that is. But it’s really common. So get rid of it. All of it. It’s surprising how much the things you’re looking at can effect your perception of body image.
Now, I follow people that help me think more positively:
- @rebeccafitness_eats reminds me that its possible to gym and still enjoy bagels for breakfast.
- @jameelajamilofficial taught me that detox drinks are disgusting. End of. (Seriously, if you don’t know, look up how they work).
- @mattzhaig taught me not to trust the thoughts my anxiety puts in my head.
(No ads, these are just a few that have genuinely helped me – but Google ‘body positive Instagram accounts’ and there are literally millions more).
Treat yourself like you would a friend
Would you ever tell your friend she shouldn’t wear a bikini to the beach? That he should bench more at the gym? That they’re not as attractive as you? Okay, so I really hope the answer is no. But the point is, you wouldn’t criticise your friend for the way they look, so why do you criticise yourself?
Try countering your negative thoughts with something more logical. Instead of “I skipped the gym today, I’m lazy and fat,” try, “I didn’t get time for the gym today, but that’s fine I can go tomorrow.” Stop telling yourself “My legs are too skinny” and instead try “I’m grateful my legs get me to the places I need to go, whatever they look like.” It feels a bit stupid at first, but telling yourself positive affirmations really works.
Remember looks aren’t everything
They really aren’t. There’s far more to you than your appearance and, yes, okay, its nice to look nice, but that’s only a small part of who you are. Focusing too much on your looks means you neglect whats on the inside. Body positivity starts by caring less about body image, and realising that it really doesn’t matter that much at all.
You can find some more body positive rants from me below:
- What no one tells you about eating disorder recovery
- Sun’s out, insecurities out
- Everything tastes better than skinny feels