We've all heard the saying before. "Happiness is an inside job."
With a positive or healthy body image, a woman has a real perception of her size and shape. She also feels comfortable with her body.
But with a negative body image, a woman has a distorted perception of her shape and size, compares her body to others, and feels shame and anxiety about her body. Being unhappy with your body can affect how you think and feel about yourself as a person. A poor body image can lead to emotional distress, low self-esteem, unhealthy dieting habits, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Developing a positive body image and a healthy mental attitude is crucial to a woman's happiness and wellness.
Is your body image positive or negative? If your answer is negative, you are not alone. Women in the U.S. are under pressure to measure up to a certain social and cultural ideal of beauty, which can lead to poor body image. Women are constantly bombarded with "Barbie Doll-like" images.
By presenting an ideal that is so difficult to achieve and maintain, the cosmetic and diet product industries are assured of growth and profits. It's no accident that youth is increasingly promoted, along with thinness, as an essential criterion of beauty. The message we're hearing is either "all women need to lose weight" or that the natural aging process is a "disastrous" fate.
It's important to remember a few things in the discussion of positive and negative female body image:
- Family and friends can influence your body image with positive and negative comments.
- A doctor's health advice can be misinterpreted and affect how a woman sees herself and feels about her body.
We all want to look our best, but a healthy body is not always linked to appearance. In fact, healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes! Changing your body image means changing the way you think about your body. At the same time, healthy lifestyle choices are also key to improving body image.
Here are a few lifestyle changes that are key:
- Healthy eating can promote healthy skin and hair, along with strong bones.
- Regular exercise has been shown to boost self-esteem, self-image, and energy levels.
- Plenty of rest is key to stress management.