6 Ways To Combat Poor Body Image
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Health and Wellness

6 Ways To Combat Poor Body Image

Because no bad mood should ruin a good day.

6 Ways To Combat Poor Body Image

Nothing ruins a good day more than not feeling comfortable in your own skin. Sometimes the feelings can come from negative self-talk, sometimes they brood over time from outside stressors, and sometimes they can appear from out of the blue. Regardless of their origin, bad body image days can make everyday tasks seem virtually impossible. As I have experienced my fair share of these days and know firsthand how lame they can be, I have compiled a list of my favorite remedies to keep my days as positive as they should be.

1. Move Your Body

I know, this one sounds super counterintuitive: Why would I want to move my body if I don't even feel comfortable leaving my house? Surprisingly, however, exercise and physical activity can actually do a world of good for your mood. Moving your body helps produce more serotonin (AKA the feel-good chemical), which, in turn, can lift your mood. It is important, however, to do something that you genuinely enjoy. Go for a run. Go for a walk. Clean your house. Garden. Dance around your apartment. Do whatever makes you happiest because you deserve to.

2. Get Dressed

Again, this sounds illogical. But on days when you feel like nothing looks good on you, your best bet is to throw on your favorite outfit. Everyone has one: your go-to, always-looks-good, favorite thing to wear. On bad days, comfort is so much more important than looking like you're headed to New York Fashion Week. It sounds almost too simple, but you'd be surprised about what a good shower and a good-fitting pair of jeans can do for your self-esteem.

3. Write About It

One thing I really find beneficial when I'm feeling down is journaling. I am not the best at sharing my feelings with others, because I never want to feel like I am asking for attention or annoying anyone with something as seemingly trivial as body image issues. If I am able to put my thoughts on paper, however, I am better able to assess my feelings and revalue their significance. A negative thought can feel like the heaviest weight until it is actually put into perspective, which is difficult to do unless it is is shared or written.

4. Stay Off of Social Media

I cannot stress enough how detrimental social media can be for self-esteem. Having a constant flow of pictures and videos uploaded of people looking their absolute best (or, in some cases, better than their best thanks to Photoshop) can lead to comparison and feelings of inadequacy. This isn't to say that I don't enjoy Instagram and Snapchat like any other young adult, but I understand that there is a limit to what I should expose myself to in order to protect my own mental wellbeing. Sometimes you just have to log off for a while and focus on what is happening in the present.

5. Do Something Kind for Someone Else

It is easy to get wrapped up in yourself (trust me, I do it often). When you are experiencing a bad mood, it can feel like the center of your world. When your foundation is rooted in a negative mindset, you are almost guaranteed to have a bad day. However, do something helpful or kind from someone else can improve your mood dramatically. Not only are you helping yourself by immersing yourself in a positive activity, but you are now spreading that positive energy to someone who may also be having a lousy day. Helping someone else is useful in putting your own problems into perspective. It's a win-win.

6. Address Your Feelings Head-On

If you feel a bad mood coming on, do not fight it. Although it is important to not stay in a negative mindset, it can actually be injurious to stifle feelings that arise. I handle these situations through a three-step process: First, I assess what exactly I'm feeling. Do I not like how I look today? What part of my appearance do I not like? Next, I I consider why I may be feeling that way. Am I stressed from school and work? Have I been isolating myself from friends? Am I overexerting myself? Finally, I ask myself the same question every time I feel poorly about myself. Does the way that I look have any effect on the content of my character? The answer is always "No".

It is important to realize that, although they are unfavorable, bad body image days happen more often and to more people than many of us realize. It took me many years to realize that my appearance should not dictate my mood, and that there are so many more important and wonderful things to fill my life with than worrying about if I am pretty or skinny enough. Obviously those feelings will never dissipate entirely, but that doesn't mean they should drive an entire day that could have been spent positively. If you focus your energy on what your body is capable of rather than how it looks, you may be much more pleased with what you see.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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