As kids, we don’t think much about the appearance of our bodies. But when we enter the teen phase, we start noticing changes in our bodies, and we don’t become fans of all the changes. The same goes for women in other age brackets. Whether it is social media or magazines, some women will always find platforms that can contribute to body image issues. Some might find their arms too skinny or face too chubby. But even if you don’t have the hour-glass figure, you should love yourself. Let us tell you how to boost body confidence.
What is body confidence?
Body confidence refers to the acceptance, appreciation and overall positive perception of your own body, explains Dr Rahul Chandhok, Senior Consultant and Head Psychiatry, Artemis Hospitals, New Delhi. It involves feeling comfortable and satisfied with your physical appearance, regardless of societal or social media-influenced ideals. Body confidence or body positivity is not about achieving a specific body shape or size but rather about embracing and celebrating the uniqueness of your own body.
Why is body confidence important?
It’s good and healthy to be comfortable in your own skin. Here are some benefits of body confidence and the importance of self-love for the way you look and feel.
1. Improved mental well-being
Body confidence can lead to reduced anxiety, depression and stress related to body image concerns, says the expert. It allows people to focus on their overall happiness and well-being rather than getting fixated on looks.
2. Better physical health
People with body confidence are more likely to engage in regular physical activities and prioritise their health without the sole goal of changing their appearance. This means they will have improved physical fitness and overall health.
3. Enhanced self-esteem
Embracing and accepting your body can boost self-esteem and self-worth. It enables people to see themselves in a positive light and appreciate their unique qualities.
4. Stronger relationships
Body confidence can improve relationships with others as people become more comfortable in their own skin, leading to better connections with friends, family and romantic partners.
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5. Increased body respect
Having body confidence encourages people to respect and take care of their bodies. This can lead to healthier lifestyle choices and self-care practices.
6. Freedom from societal pressures
Being body confident means not being controlled by unrealistic beauty standards or societal expectations. It empowers people to define beauty for themselves and not feel compelled to conform to external ideals.
Tips to boost body confidence
If you have any negative thoughts about your body, these body confidence tips can help you feel better.
1. Practise self-acceptance
Acknowledge that everyone is different, and there is no one ideal body. Embrace your features that are unique and learn to love yourself just the way you are.
2. Surround yourself with positive influences
Hang out with people who promote body positivity and support your journey towards self-acceptance, the expert tells Health Shots. Avoid those who always talk about unrealistic beauty standards or are into body shaming.
3. Focus on what your body can do
Shift the emphasis from how you look to function. Appreciate your body’s capabilities, such as strength, flexibility and endurance, rather than solely its appearance. So, if you can run faster than others, be happy about it.
4. Challenge negative thoughts
Do not indulge in negative self-talk and critical thoughts about your body. Replace them with positive affirmations and compassionate self-reflection, suggests Dr Chandhok.
5. Dress for yourself
Irrespective of what people say, wear outfits that make you feel comfortable and confident. Focus on how the clothes make you feel rather than trying to fit into specific societal fashion norms.
6. Do physical activities you enjoy
Do exercises or play sports that bring you joy and make you feel good. Focus on the pleasure of movement rather than using exercise as a means to punish or change your body.
7. Limit exposure to unrealistic beauty standards
Next time you check social media or read a magazine or watch TV, stay away from shows or accounts that promote unrealistic beauty ideals. Unfollow social media accounts that make you doubt about your body or make you feel inadequate.
If body image issues are affecting your mental well-being, consider reaching out to a therapist.