This year’s Mental Health Awareness campaign focuses on body image. Many of us struggle with our perceived view of our own bodies. Everywhere you look we are surrounded by influencers, be it on TV or social media platforms such as Instagram, with seemingly perfect bodies and faces, trying to convince us to buy something or be a certain way.
For the majority of people, life is difficult because we don’t like what we see when we look in the mirror; our reality is distorted by our minds' view of what we see.
In some cases, people are suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), a mental health disorder that causes the sufferer to become fixated by the flaws they see, often causing them to take drastic steps to try and rectify these flaws, i.e. plastic surgery to the extreme, or even self-harm.
Muscle dysmorphia normally affects males who perceive their muscles as too small, become obsessed with increasing muscle mass, and may over exercise or resort to taking steroids. However we perceive ourselves, it is quite often not how others see us, and even if people compliment us, we just don’t feel comfortable, and these feelings can cause anxiety and stress which affects our everyday lives.
Learning to love oneself may seem easy to some, but it isn’t easy and if you’ve been ridiculed or bullied. These feeling can become a huge focus in one’s life.
How hypnotherapy can help
Hypnotherapy can help by replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones and by relaxing you so that you see things more objectively.
- Surround yourself with positive people who bring out the best in you and learn to accept compliments.
- Start looking in the mirror and find something about yourself that you do like. Focus on that, and try and change your mindset to the fact that if that’s a good thing then others will too see that.
Remember - even the Instagram influencers have insecurities, and they are being paid to look a certain way, and they don’t look like that all the time.
Quite often, if we have low self-esteem due to how we perceive our looks, we will perform compulsive or repetitive behaviours, such as excessive grooming, attempting to cover our flaws with cosmetics, and seeking surgery and other physical alterations such as botox and lip fillers. These behaviours sadly provide only temporary relief at best, and the original anxieties soon return, or we find another supposed flaw to focus on.
Therapy can help you to become focused on the positive rather than the negatives and can teach coping mechanisms to allow you to feel more secure and build confidence. Remember, you are not alone - reach out to someone.
Quote from The British Psychological Society:
"Worries about how we look can impact our self-esteem and confidence, and the media has a strong influence on what we think a 'normal' body looks like. These are all areas where psychology can provide robust evidence to aid the development of public policy that will boost people’s wellbeing”.
If you know someone that is struggling, why not speak to them and reassure them that you are there for them. Let’s raise awareness and help others to feel good about themselves.
Taking steps to improve your own life or someone else's is what Mental Health Awareness Week is all about; letting people know they are not alone and that help is available.
Confidence builds confidence, and we all have the right to feel good about ourselves and to exert that feeling, so that our lives are enriched and we feel happy. Sometimes, talking to someone you don’t know is easier than talking to a friend or family member.
Even the people that appear the most confident have body image issues; try and remember that when you see them, and until you’re feeling stronger perhaps learn to avoid looking at certain things that make you feel insecure.
We are all unique in our own way and our personalities different. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, and, as we said earlier, confidence shines through.
Be unique, be who you are, let the insecurities go, and always remember you are not alone - reach out and talk to someone!