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Exploring Self-esteem and Body Image

Our bodies keep us alive, they help us experience the world with our senses, allow us to make physical journeys and they tell us if we’re not feeling well. They tell us when we’re excited or happy too – and they can even warn us of imminent dangers (when things are too hot or cold!). 

They are in short, pretty amazing structures. Yet, we all at times may notice differences in our own bodies, that make us compare ourselves to others and with that can come either positive or negative associations.

Whatever body you’re in, here are some insightful tips from Emma Phillips, one of the Mental Wealth Academy team, based at BYHP Banbury, (Banbury Young Homelessness Project), on some of the ways in which we can all strive to be more accepting of our own bodies.

Appreciate all that your body can do

Focussing on our positive qualities can help us to appreciate our bodies and shift our centre of attention away from the negatives. Try keeping a gratitude or self-esteem journal to boost your self-confidence and highlight your positives.

Surround yourself with positive people

Spend time with people who are supportive, and who make you feel good about yourself. This might also include being careful about which social media accounts you follow. Choosing to follow accounts that that celebrate people’s perceived ‘flaws’ and individuality, can be a great way to boost your self-esteem and draw inspiration.

Try a positive affirmation

Over time, repeating a positive affirmation such as “I love my body and I love myself.” or “I am perfect and complete just the way I am.”,  can boost your self-esteem.

Instead of allowing your ‘inner critic’ to rule your thoughts, try and be more accepting of yourself.

The key is to concentrate on your own personal strengths and remind yourself of what they are. Why not have ago at creating your own personal positive affirmation? Trying to demonstrate the kind of understanding and support towards yourself, that you might give to a good friend, is a good way to start.

Try not to compare yourself to others negatively

We are all presented with images through the media and social media that hold up certain body types to be idealised or even fashionable. What we need to be able to do, is question what we see and become a critical viewer of these images and messages.

Next time you begin comparing yourself, ask yourself, ‘How many people do I see in real life that look like that?’ and ‘Is it realistic to compare myself to this image?’ and ‘How can I focus on my own positive qualities?’.

Remember – every individual is different and our own qualities are what make us unique!

Focus on your whole self!

We are more than just how we look – ‘beauty’ is not simply skin deep! Beauty is about a state of mind, not a state of body.

Instead of focussing all our attention on how we look, we can pay attention to other positive areas of our life, such as our personalities, our physical health, our mental wellbeing, our goals and everything else that makes us who we are!

If you’re a young person aged 16-25, experiencing mild-moderate mental health concerns, or a family member who would like to support them, and would like to receive more tips like these – please get in touch and we can arrange for one of our team to call you back.

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