Treatments For Distorted Body Image
Much research has been carried out into ways to help people overcome a negative body image and this has shown that a Cognitive Behavioural Approach (CBT) is most effective. This can help promote positive changes in how you think, feel, and behave in relation to your body.
Tips to improve your body image
Take some time out of your day to have a read through these tips and practise some of the exercises.
- Do positive affirmations daily. Remember that what you tell yourself repeatedly becomes what you believe.
- Wear clothes you feel comfortable in. Don’t wear clothes that feel too tight or restrict movement. Don’t hold off on buying clothes you like – do it now! Dress to feel good about yourself, not to impress others. You should feel good in what you wear.
- Cut labels out of your clothes. Don’t let the size on the tag dictate your mood for the day.
- Stay away from the scales – and, if you can, get rid of them completely. If your weight needs to be monitored, leave that up to the doctors. How much you weigh should never affect your self esteem or your sense of who you are.
- Before you look in the mirror, think optimistically. When you start your day, decide how you are feeling before going to the mirror. No one looks good when they have just got out of bed so don’t allow your moods to be determined by the reflection you see. Start your day with positive affirmations; relax in a hot bath or shower, think of all the positive ways you will cope with any stresses of the day ahead, and think of the things you have to be thankful for in your life.
- Talk to yourself at the mirror. Focus on what you like about yourself and remind yourself that it’s okay to like and appreciate what you see, no matter what size you are.
- Make a ‘why I like myself’ list. Think of all the things about YOU that you like – are you honest? Creative? Intelligent? Compassionate? Loyal? Kind? Think of all the reasons you deserve to love yourself and write them down. Hang the list up next to the mirror as a reminder that these things are what make you truly beautiful.
- Take the time to do nice things for your body. Once a month have a massage, a manicure, or a facial. Pamper yourself by having a long hot bath by candlelight. Buy lotions that feel and smell good and treat yourself to some perfume. Take naps when you need to, just because you can!
- Take risks and challenge yourself to do things you normally wouldn’t do and try them. You might even enjoy yourself and the world won’t cave in. Get a new haircut, spend all day in your pyjamas or go out without makeup. Your makeup, hair and clothes do not make you who you are. It is what’s inside that’s important.
- Challenge negative self talk. When that little voice of doom pops up in your mind trying to remind you how horrible you think you are, have a strategy for turning those negatives to positives. No one is perfect! When you find yourself being self critical immediately stop and remind yourself of your wonderful qualities.
- Stay active. Gentle exercise is something that helps improve everyone’s sense of being. Take up Yoga or Tai Chi. Take a thirty minute walk three days a week. Get outside and play ball with the kids or go for a leisurely bike ride. Be active and enjoy life!
- Ask for a hug when you need it. Sometimes there is no better therapy then a hug and a kind word from someone that cares about you, but your loved ones aren’t mind readers. Tell them when you’re having a bad day and ask for a hug, a shoulder to lean on, or an ear to listen.
- Protect the child within you. Look at children around you now – would you criticize them for being themselves? Are you focused on the weight of a five year old while you watch them play with friends? Wouldn’t you protect a child being picked on? Well you don’t deserve to be picked on either, and you especially don’t deserve to put yourself down.
- Remind yourself that the people who truly love you, love you for YOU, not for what you look like.
- Remind yourself that looking healthy is something positive. It means that you are well rested, eating right and nurturing yourself. It means no more than that, and no less than that.
- Remember we are all different and we’re supposed to be that way. It would be an incredibly boring world if we all looked exactly the same. Everyone is beautiful, no matter what size, colour or gender they are. There is beauty in everyone, and that includes you!