Social media is one of the biggest influencers in the world and as a result of staring at a screen all day and seeing flawless models, their meals and airbrushed images, many people struggle with body image issues.
What is body image?
Fiona Flynn from Bodywhys, The Eating Disorders Association of Ireland, tells us a little bit more about body image and the overpowering influence social media has on it.
Fiona defined body image as: “body image really is just how somebody feels about how they look. If somebody has a positive body image they will be happy or comfortable with how they look. Somebody with a negative body image gets hung up on a part they don’t feel very happy with and that can sometimes hinder them and hold them back from enjoying life in general”
You can watch a short interview with Fiona on body image, social media and learning to love our bodies a bit more.
It is normal to feel dissatisfied with your appearance from time to time. However, if you are too concerned about your appearance it can have a big impact on your life in many ways, such as your mood, how you socialise and how you take part in activities like work, study or hobbies. It can also add to financial stress, as trying to change your appearance can be very expensive. The good news is that you can learn to accept your appearance as it is and to lessen the influence your appearance concerns have on your life.
Workbook - Caring Less About Your Looks is available to download and work through at your own pace and time.
There are a range of other resources relevant to appearance concerns which you may find helpful.
If you are highly preoccupied with specific features of your appearance and how to minimise or hide these perceived flaws, rather than just your appearance in general, then you may wish to refer to our body dysmorphia resources.
If your appearance concerns lead you to change your diet or exercise significantly, you may find our disordered eating resources helpful.
People with high levels of appearance concerns tend to view themselves in a negative light overall. Our resources for improving self-esteem can be helpful for this.