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#Causeachatter- Body image & Mental health: 6 powerful ways to create a positive body image!

Body image & mental health: 6 powerful ways to create a positive body image!
Body image & mental health: 6 powerful ways to create a positive body image

Excited to share another post for #causeachatter. My theme for campaign is #Mentalhealthtalk. With this theme, I am sharing and discussing different important aspects of mental health and also sharing the ways to improve our mental health and well-being.  

In this post, I am talking about another important aspect of mental health and that is “Body image”. When we talk about “Mental health”, we mostly think about our brain health and its functionality but in practical world, our physical appearance (and even physical health) also has an integral relation with our mental health.  

How “Body image and physical appearance” affect our mental health? And what steps we can follow to create a positive body image? Read the post to know more! (Though creating a “Positive body image” is a universal subject, but in this post, I am specifically talking about in context to women’s mental health and well-being) 

Relationship between body image and mental health 

Body image and mental health have an integral co-relation. The way you feel about yourself create a strong impact on your mental health and well-being. In fact, scientific studies have proved the same fact. According to a statistic by Mental Health foundation (MHF), poor and negative body image can affect all ages and can trigger many mental problems ranging from anxiety, self-disgust to suicidal thoughts.  

Here is an infographic to understand this important relationship.  

Body Image and mental health
Body image and mental health

Image source: Heretohelp.bc.ca 

What happen in real world? 

“Beauty is not about having a pretty face. It is about having a pretty mind, a pretty heart, and the most importantly a beautiful soul”- Dr. Kesiraju Ram Prasad 

 Unfortunately, this is not the reality of our so called morden society.  we lived in a highly influential world, where we are barraged with a constant media streaming that influenced our lifestyle. Our life is always fascinated by models, movies, film stars and their glamorous life. 

 We grow up with a belief that outer beauty, physical appearance is most important. Especially for women, pursuing a perfect beauty with clear skin, ideal figure, and nice hair are a necessity to feel confident in competitive  morden society. “Shilpa sa figure” and “Aishwarya sa complexion” is a dream of every woman.  

So, what is wrong in it? Have a look, at the certain common example from our society. 

Sonya age 28 years, is suffering from the obesity since last 3 years. She has tried various diet-exercise (but mostly short term) program for weight loss. Even she has taken so many supplements for weight loss. But nothing has worked well permanently. She wants to be slim-trim at any cost. And the main reason behind this obsession is that “she cannot wear her favorite Morden western dresses“, ” most of her friends had a perfect figure” and “she does not like to hear nasty comments from her surrounding peoples because the way she looks”. 

Even though she is aware that being an obese person she is at high risk for developing various metabolic and cardiovascular disorders. She knows that her crush dieting and supplements may cause severe side effects, but in spite of that she does not like to talk about any health-related issues. She just wants a perfect figure at any cost. 

Rema has pimples and scar on her face.  she feels extremely anxious about her skin condition. She is taking all sorts of anti-acne treatment (antibiotics, retinoid…even laser surfacing and microdermabrasion) vigorously. She wants a clear and flawless complexion in the fastest time. She knows, these procedures are quite expensive and may cause adverse effects too, but she does not care about it. She has only one dream and that is achieving “Flawless skin and perfect complexion”. 

Pooja feels low self-esteem because of her short stature. She is ready to do anything for looking taller. From wearing high heels (that might be uncomfortable for her) to taking height increasing supplements (that may cause adverse side effects), she is ready to adopt any solutions that make or look her taller.  

It is clear from above examples, that physical and outer beauty possesses an uttermost importance in our lives.  

 Nowadays, women are over-obsessed about their cosmetic appearance. Sadly, this behavior is not only related to their look but it had a deep and eternal connection with their mental and psychological state too. 

 Women with good looks and the perfect figure have the higher level of self-confidence and self-esteem, while a “girl or woman to next door “often suffer from a low self-confidence and depression just because of any lacking in their physical appearance or the way they look. 

The Major disturbing consequence of this over self-consciousness 

The most disturbing consequence of this pattern is that women are putting beauty above than their health. They want to reduce their weight, want a flawless and fair complexion and lustrous beautiful hair, just because they want to look gorgeous.  

Even though a good physical appearance is often interlinked with a good health, but most women forget that connection. They concentrate only on the outer beauty and tend to adopt all short term (some are even harmful) measures to get perfection in their look.  

Who is responsible?  

Our Morden society places a great emphasis on ideal of cosmetic and physical appearance. It’s our settled custom that puts a lot of emphasis on only a perfect outer look rather than an inner beauty and overall personality.  

 For women, this social pressure exceeds many times in their life. Marriage, social respect…. even some kind of jobs require a perfect look and this social pressure creates an anxiety in women regarding their cosmetic appearance. They feel that they may stigmatize and humiliated by the society, just because the way they look. And under the influence of this social insecurity, they take some risky and harmful decisions for getting a splendid look. 

What is the solution?

body image and mental health
Body image and mental health

Being a physician and mom of two lovely daughters, I am not against the importance of outer appearance. I did not deny that physical and cosmetic appearance has a valuable space in our life. And we should try to put enough attention and efforts for maintaining a good personality. But I would like to share some essential and easy to follow step for avoiding health disaster and unnecessary mental worries. 

First “Health…then beauty”  

healthy lifestyle
healthy lifestyle

I believed that every woman should have a basic Funda in her life that she will give first importance to her health and then she will focus on her physical and outer beauty.  There is the greatest advantage of this mentality is that her efforts for getting a solution for any cosmetic problems would be more realistic and she would get a long-lasting and harmless solution. For example: adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes 

  • Eat healthy 
  • Regular exercise 
  • Drink enough water 
  • Maintain a healthy sleep pattern
  • Spend some quality alone 
  • Put enough attention on mental and spiritual state 
  • Avoid unnecessary worries 
  • Regular health check-up 

These are some essential lifestyle changes, that will give not only offer you a better health, but also solve the major cosmetic problems like weight gain, skin imperfection as well. It is an optimistic and positive approach to solving all health and cosmetic problems. 

Believe in creation of God 

acceptance
Acceptance

It may sound a little philosophical, but during practical life, we all should try to admire it. We should believe that we all are the creation of God. Some people are tall, some short, some have the fair complexion and some have dark. The karma is in our hand. So, instead of placing a great emphasis on physical appearance, we should try to focus on our duties and responsibilities. 

It is all about our attitude 

self grooming
self grooming

Try to focus on overall personality development is the best way to combat the depression and inferiority complex. If you feel inferior because of any physical lacking, then improve your overall personality. It’s all about your positive attitude, smart make-up, appropriate clothing, a well-organized appearance and a beautiful smile. These factors are enough to boost your self-esteem. And by doing that, you would be able to get a social respect and recognition in a positive and appreciating way. 

Avoid short-cuts and short-term treatment option  

“Lose 5 kg weight in just one week” or “clear you’re all pimples within 5 days”, these kinds of marketing strategies may sound appealing, but actually these statements are marketing and publicity stunts only. There are millions of beauty and fitness products available in market and their highest motive is to sell their products. So, do not be impatient. Do a proper research and product evaluation before using them. 

Always take medical consultation before starting any fitness and beauty regimen 

Each individual is different and unique, so their body and physical condition too. It is not necessary that if a beauty product or fitness regimen has benefitted your neighbor or friend, then it is equally good for you. It may cause an allergic reaction or severe side effects. So, it is always advisable to take a medical advice before starting any new fitness and beauty regimen. 

Be a “Role model” and set a positive example for kids and society 

I am sure that we all have noticed that our children imitate what we do much more than they follow our words. And we set a wrong example and impulsive behavior of giving supreme importance to our look; they will also repeat the same thing. This would be a never-ending trend for our society. So, try to be a “Role model”, demonstrate confident and balanced behavior, do not afraid to be unique. Have humility and willingness to change the social evil from our society. 

So, these were some easy steps to create a “positive body image”, that can play a major role in improving your mental health and well-being. What are your thoughts? Do you think “Body image and mental health” has an integral relation? Please share with me! 

This post is a part of #CauseAChatter with Blogchatter

27 Comments

  • Archana

    You have well penned the direct connection between the body image and mental health Surbhi. I Strongly believe in the mantra of working on over all persona instead of physical beauty only. Outer beauty is purely creation of GOD where our discretion doesn’t work much, but yes we can flourish our personality the way we want. And absolutely there is no shortcut of any success in the world, you have to go through the tunnel of sweat hard to bring the shine of success from the other end. Brilliant dear!

    • jhilmildsaha

      It is important to feel good about ourselves. Societal pressure and stereotyping beauty standards can play a very negative effect in our mind.

  • Alpana Deo

    Body image is becoming one of the areas which many of us (not just women but men too) face. We are too much worries on society about how they see us. Doing something under pressure of complex is not going o help. But if we really feel the need to make a better version of ourselves then we need to pay attention to the overall beauty-inside out.When we feel good, we look good.

    • myworldwitheira

      Loved your perspective and the way you have explained it all Surbhi. Body shaming and self acceptance about one’s own body is very important for some which are not taken well. You have caught the right issues.

  • Ruchie

    You have really written this post so beautifully even I believe that sometimes we get stuck into our outer beauty whitch effects of a mental health. The example which you have given of Reema with pimples on Hafiz is a real time example for many of US.

  • Parul

    Surbhi, I actually was a in a need of such post. The era is all about running fast, amidst which, we often forget to stop and think about ourselves. I really really love your post.

    • Priyal

      I loved this article, this reminds me of someone, who has to face a lot in society because she has spots on her body. But I am proud of her that instead of outer looks she believe in inner beauty and she is giving importance to her health. You have covered a very important topic.

  • Preeti Chauhan

    What a well written post ! I just wish to add that children consciously or subconsciously emulate us and a child born to parents with a negative body image is more prone to be unhappy about it.

  • MeenalSonal Mathur

    Body image issues are not just for modern era, it has been deep rooted in the society from ages. Women are being more prone to this and have complained about the nasty comments one receive. I liked the solution in the post that says look for health first then outer beauty. I believe we are parents can make kids understand this that fitness and agility is important than a slim fragile figure.

  • Imagemakeover

    Yes body image and mental health has an integral relation. We behave the way we think and feel about ourself. Let’s love who we are and the way we are. Acceptance and positive attitude makes all the difference. In One of my post I have talked about different Development level, where positive self and body image helps an individual to have Greater self confidence and better self esteem. Very well written post Surbhi.

  • romagptasinha

    Such a significant point you have raised here Surbhi, it is os often a cause of mental health issues in not only women but men too,I loved the last part of the post the most.

    • mummatalks

      True and this issue is at times seen in kids who have hit puberty and are seeing changes in their body, getting acne and pimples all over their face. They face a lot of self image and self doubt which makes them mentally disturbed and annoyed.

  • The Other Brain Inc.

    I remember as a teenager I was very conscious of my body image but of lately I have accepted as all of us are unique and no body in this world is perfect.

  • Sandy N Vyjay

    The connection between body image and mental health can be really very impactful. Society is programmed to look down upon certain body types, which can negatively effect the mental health of that person. It is always important to have the right attitude towards this.

  • Gleefulblogger

    We know the drill so well, Mental Health first physical appearances later. Inner beauty first, everything else later, but the irony is we live in a society that hammer the need of beauty. Perfection is the work parenting drill in kids when they are born. The examples you have given here are happening around us every time but what are we doing, nothing. This needs to be dealt with seriously, a wonderful topic to write on ,Surbhi.

  • Dr Bushra

    That’s an eye opening post. Absolutely we should learn to love ourselves and don’t judge ourselves for our flaws. Everyone is beautiful in their own way.

  • rakhiparsai11984

    I agree with you appearance plays a huge role and affects our mental health. However I also feel while a person is working towards being physically good its also important that we strengthen other qualities that can boost our mental health and overall personally. Really happy that you have written about this subject as many people suffer mentally due to body image.

  • Hema

    I love the entire concept of this blog, both body and mind are connected for sure. We need to focus on body more and it does affect our mental health

  • Surbhi Mahobia

    The journey of staying well and fit is always inside out. If the mind is not healthy and physical health is sure to suffer. Cutting the external noises about exterior beauty and appearance is so important but it’s easy said than done.

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