Mental Health

Nov 12, 2021

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Loving Your Body on Good and Bad Days

Having a healthy body image goes beyond not hating about what we see. It begins with acceptance, of who we are and what we look like, and deepens into feeling healthy and happy.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and wanted to change everything about the way you look? If yes, you're far from alone. Faced with the immense pressure we face on an everyday basis to look a certain way — flawless skin, lush hair, a summer-ready ‘bikini’ body — it is easy to get discouraged and start sheltering negative thoughts about our bodies and ourselves.

Our body image, simply put, is our relationship with ourselves and with the larger world. At Girlmantra, we believe in boosting our mindset and self-esteem to gradually move towards a healthy body-image. Seems complicated? Don’t worry, we've got your back. Here’s a primer on, well, let’s call it: How to Look in the Mirror and Love What You See.


👁 Signs of an Unhealthy Body Image

An unhealthy body-image can negatively impact our lives in many ways, such as:

  • Low self-esteem, manifesting as feeling ‘not good enough’, unworthy, under-confident, and withdrawing from our otherwise cherished interpersonal relationships
  • Anxiety and depression 
  • Eating too much or too little, coupled with feelings of shame and guilt 
  • Eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, exercising compulsively
  • Being critical of yourself 


🧘🏻 What Exactly Does Healthy Body Image Mean?

Body image is psychological and physical. It’s the way we think of ourselves and what we think and feel about our body. Having a healthy body image goes beyond not caring about what we see. It begins with acceptance —- acceptance of who we are and what we look like, which deepens into feeling healthy and happy.

Building a healthy body image can be a deliberate undertaking at the beginning. It takes time to chip away at what we’ve been conditioned to believe about ourselves and nourish, in its place, a space where we lovingly tend to ourselves and our needs. We move towards loving ourselves when we begin to stop trying to fit into society’s idea of what our body should look like and instead, focus on the qualities we admire about ourselves.

Cultivating our self-esteem is essential to thinking of ourselves with value and respect. It is the opinion we have of ourselves. Notice the word ‘opinion’. An opinion isn’t a fact, it’s what we think, and evolves and changes as we do. Self-esteem is a building block of healthy body image. Good self-esteem helps us be gentler and kinder to ourselves, flaws and mistakes!


✨ 9 Ways to Build Better Body Image

While boosting body image is a deeply personal endeavour for all of us, there do exist expert strategies and tips that you can begin with:

  • Positive self-talk: Talking to ourselves as we would to a friend can do wonders to improve our self-esteem by helping us focus on appreciating our body and our mind for what they do for us every day. 
  • Move away from ‘good’ and ‘bad’ ideas of food and reorienting our thoughts around food to include what makes us feel healthy and happy. 
  • Make a note of all your good days and achievements. Having a really good hair day? Baked the most delicious banana bread? Log it into a journal that you can go back to on the days you don’t feel too good!
  • Write down 5 things you thought you did very well every week. This can help you feel more at ease with yourself and give you more confidence in your abilities.
  • Write down 5 things you love about your body, and 5 things you want to work towards loving more. 
  • Affirm, affirm, affirm: Write little joyous and motivational reminders that make you feel good whenever you catch a glance. 
  • Do what makes you feel like your best self. This could be talking to a friend, writing a journal, painting, working out, anything! It’s for you. 
  • Meditate to bring awareness to your body. Being more in tune with the sensations you feel will make you feel at home within yourself.
  • Move! Dance, run, skip, play a sport, whatever you feel like doing. Movement boosts endorphins (or happy hormones) and helps us appreciate our body’s resilience and strength. 
🧠 Join Girlmantra's 3 week Mindset Challenge to boost your self-esteem and fall in love with your body. Next cohort starts December 5th. 🎯 Sign up here.


References:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/249190

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders

https://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/infosheet/body-image-self-esteem-and-mental-health