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BODY POSITIVITY & YOU!



What is Body Positivity ?

Body Positivity means accepting the body completely in whatever shape, size, colour etc it comes, and the changes it may undergo due to nature, age, or your own personal lifestyle choices throughout your life. It's the understanding that your worth and what's going on with you physically are two separate entities. No matter what's happening internally ,externally , to your mind or to your body, you're still just as worthwhile and important as anyone else.


Body positivity is about challenging how society views people based upon their physical size and shape and other characteristics. People should understand how popular media messages contribute to the relationship that they have with their bodies, including how they feel about food, exercise, clothing, health, identity, and self-care. Body Positivity aims at developing a healthier and more realistic relationship with your bodies.


What is the Role of Social Media ?

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc have a high impact on the psyche of the people nowadays. They can influence both positively as well as negatively in forming self body image.


Positive Effects of Social Media on Body Image


Social media can positively impact body image in a number of ways. Health and wellness, fitness, and plant-based food accounts can all be inspirational models for some users. Through these frameworks, social media users can maintain a healthy and positive outlook on their body image and regulate and modify their lifestyle in a healthy way.

Body image advocacy on social media can make a huge impact on individuals actively struggling with eating disorders. There should be healthy representations of bodies on social media. It empowers young women and also creates huge inclusiveness for all body types, through various support groups across these platforms, and hence could help in reducing the stigma associated with it.

Exposure to body positive posts may even improve mood, self esteem and body image perceptions of some vulnerable individuals.


How Does Social Media Affect Body Image Negatively?


As we all know, a woman’s body is represented by the almost perfect and idealistic standards all over the social media platforms portraying models or even peers in their most beautiful self. This leads to constant comparison of one's body with theirs, especially in the vulnerable population. This maladaptive engagement could trigger or even exacerbate or intensify certain mental health problems like eating disorders, depression anxiety etc.

Thanks to an array of free applications, the Selfie - addicts now can edit their bodies in pictures, in a way that’s practically on par with makeup and makes them look near to perfect.


A study conducted by the Florida House Experience, a healthcare institution, found that both women and men compare their bodies with those displayed in the media. The survey included 1,000 men and women and focused on their body image, confidence, and the media. It found that 87% of women and 65% of men compare their bodies to images they consume on social and traditional media. In that comparison, a stunning 50% of women and 37% of men compare their bodies unfavorably and at risk of developing mental health issues.

This disconnect between perception and reality increases the distance between what users feel about themselves in real life and what they think about their online persona.



How to deal with body image issues?


For the best long term results, social media users struggling with body image issues should seek help from mental health professionals.

The common treatment approaches include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), counselling, Supportive Psychotherapy , Mirror therapy etc.


Mirror exposure therapy involves asking patients to observe themselves repeatedly and for prolonged periods in a full-length mirror. At first, one’s own image evokes negative emotions and critical thoughts. Then, with prolonged and repeated mirror exposures, the negative reactions change and lessen through habituation. That is, through repeated exposure, the association between their negative reaction and seeing the particular aspect of their appearance fades away.


Mirrors have also been used to treat the body image distortions of those suffering from eating disorders. Eating disorder patients may see themselves as very fat when they’re actually quite thin. But they can often come to realization for themselves with the help of a mirror and a supportive therapist.


How to achieve body positivity ?

A single fixed list can’t tell you how to turn negative body thoughts into positive body image, but it can introduce you to healthier ways of looking at yourself and your body. The more you practice these thought patterns, the better you will feel about yourself and your natural body.


Rewire your brain.

Information and thoughts process in your brain via neural pathways. The more your thoughts follow a specific pathway, the stronger that pathway becomes. If you are thinking "I'm fat, I'm ugly" every day, those pathways become really strong. However neuroplasticity is a way by which you can create new pathways with messages of self-love and kindness instead of self rejection.One way to interrupt your negative thinking is to say "that's not true" or “I’m fine the way I am”. When you repeat positive thoughts, your brain becomes wired to think like that.


Realise that “true beauty” is not superficial or simply skin-deep.

When you feel good about yourself and who you are, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self-acceptance, and openness that makes you beautiful. Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body.


Appreciate what your body can do.

Every day your body carries out various functions. Celebrate and be thankful for all of those amazing things your body does for you—running, dancing, breathing, laughing, dreaming, feeling etc.


Keep a list of things you like about yourself and your body

These things shouldn't be related to how much you weigh or what you look like. Read your list often. Add to it as you find more things to like about yourself.


Look at yourself as a whole person.

When you see yourself in a mirror or in your mind, choose not to focus on specific body parts.


Be amongst positive people.

It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of liking you just the way you are!


Positive Affirmations

Shut down those voices in your head that tell you your body is not right or not good enough or that you are a bad person. You can overpower those negative thoughts with positive ones. The next time you start to tear yourself down, build yourself back up with a few quick affirmations that work for you.eg. “I’m brilliant and beautiful” or “my body is the most precious gift” or “I love myself fully”.


Comfort wear

Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body. Work with your body, not against it.


Learn to view social and media messages critically

Pay attention to images, slogans, or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body. Report these messages, write a letter to the advertiser to take down the image or message.


Pamper yourself

Something that lets your body know you appreciate it. Take a spa, take a nap, or find a peaceful place outside to relax. Hit the parlour, do something nice for yourself.


Reach out and connect

Use the time and energy that you might have spent worrying about food, calories, and your weight to do something productive. Sometimes reaching out and helping others can make you feel better about yourself and can make a positive change in our world.


Be grateful for what is and what works.

Even if you are in the most unhealthy place of your life, something is working. The fact that you are alive and can breathe is proof enough. Spend some time daily focusing your awareness on what you love about your body and how it serves you.


Listen to the needs of the body.

Your body wants to be stretched, exercised, nourished and stimulated. It wants to feel good. Your brain produces certain “feel good" substances or neurotransmitters,eg. Dopamine which are chemical messengers of the brain and body. They are responsible to make you feel euphoric and pleasant. They are released in our body during certain activities we like doing eg. eating sweets , running , exercise, meditation, bathing etc. Pay attention to what your body needs. You may discover a craving for energy in the form of exercise and whole foods,instead of a sugary caffeine rush.


Be your best version.

How we nourish our bodies has a lot to do with self-worth. Inculcate good habits. Motivate yourself.


Meditate

Meditation is a way of introspection and helps in building self worth. There are many ways one can meditate. Eg. In a quiet place, sit with your eyes closed. As you inhale, say to yourself "I am worthy" and as you exhale say "of my desires." Or “ I’m worth it”.



Body Positivity is a gradual process. Stick to your path and you shall attain peace!





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