The digital age, access to the internet and constant bombardment of edited and unrealistic body images through social media has led to a lack of positive body [ositivity across the developing world. We are fat-shamed for being overweight, called unhealthy for being thin, labelled bulky when we carry muscle or snappable if we don’t. The unattainable standards presented by the media have fuelled a rise in eating disorders with an estimated 1.25 million people in the UK now suffering from disordered eating and the number of people receiving treatment in a hospital or being admitted to an ANA treatment centre having risen by 8%. So what can we do about it?
Changing the media and changing the ideal perceptions of body image will take time, but by addressing the image head-on and championing body positivity across as many social platforms as possible we can shift this imbalance. But if you’ve found yourself feeling a little low lately, or maybe you need a little pick me up, then here are 4 body positive mantras for you to try:
- “I am strong, I am beautiful, I am enough” – Vanessa Pawlowski, psychologist.
Psychologist, Vanessa Pawlowski recommends this manta as a way to remind ourselves that we are strong and we do not need to give in to the pressures placed upon us by society or the media. Try repeating it in the mirror each morning four times, placing the focus each time on a different part of the mantra and then repeating it as a whole one last time.
- “Don’t compare yourself to someone else’s highlight reel” – Kimberly O’Connor
Perhaps one of the most damaging things for body confidence which has come out of the digital age is social media, leading to the rise of Instagram models and influencers who post only the most refined content and play it off as real life. We are getting better at distinguishing what is the highlight reel and what is reality but still, it can be easy to compare ourselves to pictures of people’s lives which only show what they want them to show.
- “Be your own brand of sexy” – Susan Edelman
Psychiatrist, Susan Edelman when speaking about this mantra says, “To me, this means doing what’s right for you as an individual, not letting cultural pressures to be sexy and sexual influence your behaviour or make you feel bad about how you look.” In essence, just because we are constantly told that one particular body type is sexy reflect the views of a very narrow-minded selection of people. Everyone has their own unique set of features which make them attractive.
- “I will not determine my self-worth based on my appearance” – Erin Olivio
When Erin Olivio, assistant professor of medical psychology at Columbia university asks her patients to tell her 4 things they believe to determine a person’s self-worth, she says that appearance is virtually never on that list and yet if she asks them what makes a person unworthy, appearance raises its ugly head. This disparity is often not realised until she points it out to the individual at which point they realise how ridiculous it is.