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.
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?
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”
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
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
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.