Student Welfare News: Body Image and Self-Esteem

Body Image and Self-Esteem

Perceptions of our body image are formulated by thoughts, feelings, attitudes and beliefs about our bodies and physical appearance.

We can develop a range of feelings about our shape, size, weight and bodily functions ranging from positive and satisfied, to negative and dissatisfied. Feeling negative and dissatisfied about our body image and wanting to alter areas of our physical appearance can lead to damage to our self-esteem. Having a positive body image (liking your body the way it is right now) can lead to confidence and a more positive self-esteem.  

Start with Acceptance: there are MANY things to like about your body. Appreciating your body as it is results in taking good care of it.

Here are some ways to help you feel your best:

Accept Your Body

  • Perfect bodies do not exist, and everyone deserves to be welcomed and loved as they are – which is true for our bodies as well. Reflect on your body as it is and be less critical of it
  • Make effortful attempts to be your bodies friend
  • Do not be excessively critical and negative about your appearance. Self-esteem is harmed when you make negative statements about your own body. Thinking these remarks to yourself or saying them out loud makes them become a reality. Be consistent with avoiding this. This is a large task, respect yourself and the process of improvement.

Learn to love Your Body

  • Look for positive aspects surrounding your appearance. Tell yourself why you like it. If you’re finding this challenging, think about what your friends or family would find positive about your appearance. Know there are many things that are admirable about your appearance. Allow yourself to enjoy them.
  • Be aware of all the things your body supports you to do. It’s not just how you appear.
  • Enjoy the feelings your body creates when you move.

Take Care of Your Body

  • Eat healthy foods. Learn what foods are good for you and give you the energy you need. Eating well enhances your body image. When you treat your body right, you feel good about yourself.
  • Get good sleep. Adolescents need between 9 and 9½ hours of sleep per night. Go to bed on time and turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime so you can sleep well.
  • Be active every day. Moving keeps the body strong, fit and healthy. Find ways to be active like play a sport, run, walk, go to the gym, do yoga, pilates, swim, or dance, whatever you enjoy doing.

What If I Need Help with My Body Image and Self-Esteem?

Sometimes, body image or self-esteem problems are a lot to handle alone. Tell a parent, doctor, mental health or counselling service about what you’re going through and ask them for help. Body image and self-esteem can improve with help and care.

Feel free to access:

Student Welfare Services: Catie McNamara


Written by Andrew Dallafiore and Jess Soccio

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