The Link Between Body Positivity And Mental Health
Having a positive approach to life along with an acceptance of uncomfortable situations has proven to help keep our minds healthy and resilient. But what about the way we feel about our physical selves, and what we think when we look at ourselves in the mirror?
Body positivity is an incredible thing that can help to keep us feeling at peace with ourselves, so let’s find out a little more about it:
What is body positivity?
Body positivity encourages people to refrain from making judgements about their own bodies and those of others around them. The way to achieve body positivity is by attempting to build, for the self, a stronger relationship that is based solely upon love, kindness and acceptance. This will enable the individual to choose their own personal path toward physical health and move forward in a meaningful way, often influencing others with their positivity, too.
Media and body positivity:
We are bombarded daily by images of the human form in the media and are often encouraged to view them in a biased and incredibly judgemental manner. What body positivity tries to do, is to remove the superficiality from how we ourselves feel when we look at a person’s physical appearance, rather than trying to compete with the notions of how a person should and shouldn’t look. Once we begin to appreciate that the way a person looks is not what defines them as beautiful, we can step back from passing a negative judgement.
Sometimes, our nature as humans is to compare ourselves to others, particularly those whom we see portrayed as being ‘perfect’ in the media, and as a result, unrealistic body imaging becomes the norm. Thinking we’re not normal because we don’t look as perfect as these individuals can lead to a whole host of disorders, each of which can cause intense suffering.
Eating disorders caused by an unhealthy body image:
Obsessing over what they eat, those suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia can struggle to cope with daily life. More often an issue for women, eating disorders may cause the individual to be underweight, malnourished and there is almost always an increased risk of secondary illnesses. While it may be true to say that such disorders are not caused by negative body imaging alone, this has been found to be one of the many contributors.
Body image and the link between depression and anxiety:
Stress and anxiety – from moderate to severe – has sometimes been found to be caused by the way in which body images are portrayed in the media, and the way in which we as society, are encouraged to think about bodies. With such unrealistic expectations about what a body image should conform to, it’s perhaps no surprise to know that the development of body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD, is becoming more common, and individuals are developing obsessions about their appearances that often have a negative impact upon their behavior and perception of reality.
Body positivity – a summary:
Facing a constant barrage of unrealistic body imaging from the media and society in general, trying to cultivate a sense of body positivity is no easy feat. However, it’s important to remember that body positivity isn’t about you trying to overcome those opinions or even challenge them, but more about focusing on yourself and creating a more meaningful and rewarding positive experience. To find out more about body positivity and achieving a healthier state of mind, speak to your local mental health professional.
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