Although being confident doesn’t come overnight, body confidence is something you work on and create your own with. Having body image issues is not something to take lightly as its effects can damage your mental and physical wellbeing. In our digital age, more and more people are finding it hard to detach themselves from this notion of “the perfect body” and be happy with how they naturally look. To help with this Charlie Howes, founder of Nude Life, has whittled it down to 5 steps to boost body confidence.
Body image issues can stem from a desire to be something better and look different. However, often people idealise certain body aspirations as a way of compensating for a dull and uninspiring routine. Trying something new can provide feelings of efficiency and self-worth, boosting your overall confidence and satisfaction with your life. Indulge in activities you have always wanted to try- perhaps it is a new exercise class, travelling to a new country or learning a new skill. Whatever it is, shift your focus from a negative inner dialogue to achieving longer lasting goals that can improve your overall happiness.
The problem with social media, emails and news feeds is that they are so easily accessible, and with the touch of a button we are immediately submerged into this digital world. This can feel suffocating with its sheer amount of content and unfortunately, certain apps like Instagram can promote unrealistic body standards for individuals struggling with body positivity. Sometimes a digital detox is needed to relieve symptoms of depression and self-loathing. Instead of obsessing over how other people look and comparing your body to theirs, leave your gadgets at home and make real life plans instead. Even a short detox will carry the benefits of feeling more relaxed and good about your body, so give it a go!
In essence, this is a ‘fake it till you make it’ approach to increasing body confidence. Choosing to do simple steps such as smiling, standing up straight and using positive affirmations in the mirror such as “I look great today” can program your inner dialogue to be more positive over time. Practicing and projecting positivity can also attract other positive, social people into your circle and help build a higher self-esteem. Ultimately, if you start to focus your mental energy on the positives in your life, you can only gain feelings of self-assurance.
Toxic people can cause a lot of damage to your body confidence, as they tend to make you feel bad and ashamed about yourself. It can be hard to remove these people from your life, but it is important to surround yourself with the right people who boost your self-esteem rather than trample on it. Toxic traits to look out for include criticizing your appearance, unkind judgements about your body and comparisons to shame you. If you are unable to remove them from your life, maintain strong boundaries and spend your time with positive-affirming friends who benefit your wellbeing.
If your problems with body image are interfering with your day-to day life or causing more serious mental health issues such as depression, eating disorder or obesity, then it might be time to seek some professional help. Talking to someone confidentially can help you sort through your problems over time and look at them through a new perspective. Therapy can help you practice self-acceptance, stop comparing yourself to other people and gain body confidence in way you couldn’t imagine doing alone. Speak to your GP to see how you can be referred to your local services.