Part 3: More Ways to Cultivate a Positive Body Image:

Girl With A Negative Body Image
  1. Create a list of your inner positive qualities.

Remind yourself that beauty is not simply skin-deep. When you feel good about who you are as a person and you look at yourself as a whole, rather than just separate body parts, your confidence is likely to increase and you will carry yourself differently. Be open to the different definitions of beauty instead of the current social construction of beauty that often changes.

  1. Surround yourself with positive supports.

It is easier to feel good about yourself when you have individuals in your life who are supportive of who you are as a whole, not just what you look like. Think of the qualities that you do like about the people you admire. It is unlikely that you only admire them for their external beauty/body image.

  1. Listen to your body’s needs.

Eat when you are hungry. Rest when you are tired. Learn when to say “yes” and when to say “no” to helpful/unhelpful things. Exercise for the joy of feeling your body move and grow stronger and healthier. Find a method of exercise that you enjoy and do it regularly.

  1. Challenge your inner critic.

Pay attention to the thoughts that “pop up” in your head. Ask yourself “Are these thoughts helpful or are they bringing me down?” Acknowledge the thoughts for what they are, but remember that you don’t have to buy into them just because they decided to make an appearance. You can choose to engage them, let them float away, or challenge them. If you choose to challenge them, change them to thoughts that are more realistic and helpful.

If you have tried these steps consistently and you continue to struggle with a negative body image, it may be time to seek additional support. Some of the additional struggles mentioned previously such as depression, eating disorders, anxiety, self-injury, etc. can be treated by pursuing help by a caring professional.

At Perspectives of Troy Counseling Centers, we have numerous therapists who specialize in helping individuals work through their struggles in a caring and confidential manner.

Perspectives also offers many groups that tackle some of these challenges. The Self-Esteem Workshop is a one day intensive workshop that helps inspire, encourage, and empower girls to build self-confidence, character and courage. The Teen Edge is an 8 week group for males and females that helps explore self-destructive behaviors, discover and develop new ways to think about life and future, and set goals to increase positive thinking and behavioral choices. Many additional resources are also available.

Give Perspectives of Troy Counseling Centers a call at 248-244-8644 and take a step towards an empowered you!

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“Body Image Disorders” (2010). http://www.bodysense.ca/en/bodyimagedisorders

“Negative Body Image Symptoms and Treatment” (2016). http://www.timberlineknolls.com/information/about/news/negative-body-image-women/

“It’s not just girls. Boys struggle with Body Image, Too” (2014). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/17/body-image-boys_n_5637975.html

“Media, Body Image and Eating Disorders” (2016). https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/media-body-image-and-eating-disorders

Grogan, Sarah. “Body Image and Health: Contemporary Perspectives” (2006). Journal of Health Psychology. http://www.ufjf.br/labesc/files/2012/03/Journal-of-Healh-Psychology_2006_Body-Image-and-Health-comtemporary-perpectives.pdf

“What is Body Image” (2016). https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/what-body-image

“Ten Steps to Positive Body Image” (2016). http://news.uark.edu/articles/33689/ten-steps-to-positive-body-image

“Weight and Body Image Disorders: Causes, Symptoms and Signs” (2014). http://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/information/body-image

“20 Ways to Love Your Body” (2016). http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/20-ways-love-your-body

“Eating Disorders: A Healthy Body Image” (2003). http://www.pbs.org/perfectillusions/eatingdisorders/preventing_healthybody.html

Serdar, Kasey. “Female Body Image and the Mass Media: Perspectives on How Women Internalize The Ideal Beauty Standard” http://www.westminstercollege.edu/myriad/index.cfm?parent=…&detail=4475&content=4795