Today I was reading a post from the Mental Health Foundation about body image in men. I’m sure we are all aware that women have experienced negative body image or body dysphoria for many years, but new research shows that one in five men negatively compare their body to others, three in ten experience anxiety and one in ten have experienced suicidal thoughts because of body image.
Whether you are male or female, a negative body image can lead to overwhelming stress and social anxiety, even to self-harm, due to the pressures we place on ourselves to be ‘perfect’ as a result of the (often fake) images of others. Social media is awash with perfect pictures of celebrities – yet these are usually photoshopped to extremes and do not reflect what that person actually looks like in real life. We know this, yet still aspire to an impossible ideal.
We somehow fail to see the awesomeness of our bodies, they keep on going, they keep us alive and healthy, make sure we can do our everyday tasks and live our lives, even though we (probably) sabotage it with bad food, alcohol, lack of exercise, négativité thoughts and a general lack of gratitude for keeping us alive,. We have become accustomed to looking in the mirror to find fault, not to give praise or see the beauty in ourselves.
I challenge you today to look in the mirror (naked or clothed) and look for the beauty in yourself, find five things (yes FIVE) about your face and body that are beautiful, good, that you like, that other people say are beautiful, nice, gorgeous. It can be your hands, feet, eyes, hair, ankles, belly button, smile, anything, however small or hidden. Keep going until you have at least five – and no negative thoughts are allowed during this exercise, you are only looking for things you like or love.
Then say to yourself (ideally out loud) “I love my …” for each of those five things. Next time you look in the mirror, look for those things first and remind yourself how much you like/love them. Get into a new habit of looking for the great things you see in a mirror before looking for things you can improve.
Let me know how you get on!
For a 2 minute podcast on this click here: