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What is Body image, and how does it influence your mental health?

by basicact

Do you know about body image and how your body image can influence your psychological health and eating patterns very much? If you were not aware of this before, then do not worry. We are here to explain everything about this. Let us see first that what is the meaning of body image.

What is body image?

Body image is a term used to explain what a person feels or thinks about their bodies. Thoughts and Perceptions related to this can influence our mental well-being greatly. That is why it is very important to discuss body image and its influence on mental health.

Body image can be considered as,

  • Positive body image (thinking positively about your body with having satisfaction)
  • Negative body image (negative perception and dissatisfaction related to your body)

Statistics related to body image:

Let us discuss some statistical information related to body image. The mental health foundation has declared that one in five persons feels shame about their body image because they have a negative body image. Now, you can have the idea how much people are suffering from this.

Factors shaping your body image:

Some factors can influence your body image and shape your mind regarding your bodyimage. These factors are given below.  Come, let us see them.

  1. Relationship with family and friends:

Your good relationship with your family and friends predicts significantly how well your body image will be. If your family and peer group are less involved in body shaming and share a great bond with them, your perception regarding your body will be highly positive despite being overweight or underweight.

  1. Influence of social media:

Well, we all know how social media can influence our perceptions.  The ideal body shape preferences shown by social media can make your body image either positive or negative.

  1. The pressure of matching an ideal body:

It might be possible that you feel the pressure of matching your body weight or body shape to a person who is having an ideal body, according to you. 

  1. Gender:

Your Gender can influence your body image a lot.  When you are a female, your body image can quickly become negative when you have a mismatch between your ideal and realbody.  But on the other hand, males are usually seen as less careless related to their body weight. They do not get quickly upset by the mismatch in their ideal and real body weight.

  • Cultural differences:

Cultural differences can also influence body image. Some cultures promote that being overweight is useful rather than being underweight. But some cultures provide a different dimension of an ideal self.

  • Health conditions:

No doubt, health conditions are some critical factors in influencing body image. Your health conditions can shape your body image easily.  And it provides you great satisfaction with your body image if you are experiencing good health.

Impact of body image on mental health:

Now, the important thing is that this body image can influence your mental health greatly. If you have a positive body image, then you will enjoy great psychological well-being. Still, if your body image is negative, it can trigger your psychological health in various ways.

Positive body image influence:

These are the influences of having a positive perception related to body image.

  • Excellent physical and mental health:

You experience great physical and mental health when you have a positive body image.  Your psychological well-being gets better and better because you have great satisfaction related to your body shape and body weight.

  • Excellent quality of life:

You live an excellent quality of life.  The world seems beautiful because your life is happy.  Thinking about oneself as something very positive is highly influential in depicting an exceptional quality of life.

  • Peace of mind:

You would have great peace of mind when your ideal body weight is according to your body image.  This peace of mind will make your life more worthy of living.

  • Satisfaction with self:

This positive body image provides you satisfying inner experience related to your real body image.

Negative body image influence:

Following are the factors that are caused by the impact of negative body image on mental health,

  • Higher body dissatisfaction:

The negative body image can make you highly dissatisfied regarding your body. The conflict between your ideal and real body can affect your psychological health and wellness very negatively.

  • Low confidence and self-esteem:

Negative body image will make you low in confidence, and it will cause your self-esteem very low. Many studies have been done on the association between body image, self-esteem, and confidence. The findings suggest that negative body image is related to low confidence and self-esteem.

  • Psychological distress and anxiety:

Your stress and anxiety will be highly increased as your body image will become negative. The negative body image will trigger your psychological distress, and it will put anxiety in your mind.

Research says that negative body image is positively correlated with one’s psychological distress and anxiety.

  • Low quality of life:

When you have all the above problems, it is evident that your life quality will be inferior.  Your life will not be having a happy relationship with yourself and with others.  This can also affect your eating patterns.  There is a high risk of involvement in unhealthy eating patterns. This can further destroy your life quality and experience of happiness.

What should you do?

As we have told you, factors that can shape your body image.  Try to think that are you seriously upset by the conflict between your ideal and real body weight or are the external factors that have made you so. If it is about external factors, then you should give importance to yourself only.  Self-love is the key to happiness. Love yourself as you are. You can make a positive body image by doing self-affirmation. Do not get pressurized or influenced by others. This will give you internal happiness and a real glow.

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