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14th May 2019

Mental Health Awareness week is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation between the 13th-19th May 2019. The theme this year focusses on body image and how we should #BeBodyKind

‘Body image’ can be described as the perceptions we have of our physical self, also the thoughts and feelings that result from it.

The perceptions we present on our bodies will make an everlasting impact - contributing to a lack of body confidence, influencing our mental health and wellbeing.

How does it impact our mental health?

Body image is a common theme amongst society, and it’s an issue that we most inevitably experience. However, it is not a mental health problem strictly speaking – but it can be an impacting factor for mental health problems.

This can be acknowledged by research that states high body dissatisfaction is associated with a poorer quality of life, psychological distress and the risk of unhealthy eating behaviours and eating disorders.

What causes body image concerns?

Our own body image – will differentiate on the individual depending on their past experiences and their surrounding environment.

Research by the Mental Health Foundation suggests some influential factors can be the cause of body dysmorphia. Such as our relationships with our friends and family, how we envisage and discuss our body images with peers, our contact with images of idealised or unrealistic bodies throughout the media and the pressure to fit into society or to match an ‘ideal’ body type.

Easier said than done, this can be very hard to avoid with the internet having such a large presence in our lives – circulating images of celebrities and people we ‘aspire’ to be with ease of access.

Helpful tips to #BeBodyKind

Body image – If your body is causing you great amounts of stress, then consider talking to a friend, trusted adult or a health professional for helpful advice.

Clean up your apps – Pictures don’t represent reality, so clean up your apps and remove the content that might be affecting your self-esteem.

Lead by example – Parents, and carers can lead by example. Providing a positive attitude around body image, healthy eating and exercise can be passed onto following generations.

Be positive – The way we represent ourselves - shapes our whole outlook on life. So, staying positive can improve our overall mental state.

Be active – Did you know, research claims exercise and keeping active can slash the risk of depression by a third? Download our free Day Pass to take a step to improving your wellbeing.

#BeBodyKind – Although it might be hard sometimes - give yourself credit. Body satisfaction and appreciation has been linked to better overall wellbeing and fewer unhealthy dieting behaviours.