Self Care

Why Is Body Positivity Important For Mental Health?

What is body positivity?

The body positivity movement aims to promote self-love and acceptance, regardless of your body type or appearance. This movement is about rejecting unrealistic beauty standards and embracing your body as it is, with all its imperfections and quirks. Body neutrality encourages people to focus on their strengths rather than their flaws, and to celebrate their bodies as unique and valuable.

This has gained momentum in recent years, with more and more people joining the movement and advocating for self-love and acceptance. However, there is still a lot of confusion and misinformation surrounding this topic. Not only is this very important for society, it’s important for mental health.

perfectly imperfect shirt

What is Body Positivity?

Body positivity is a movement that started in the early 2000s, primarily aimed at challenging unrealistic beauty standards and promoting self-love and acceptance. The movement originated in the United States, but it has since spread to other parts of the world.

Despite what you may have heard, it is about accepting and embracing your body, regardless of its shape, size, or imperfections. It’s about recognizing that there is no one ideal body type, and that all bodies are valuable and worthy of love and respect.

It is an effort to reduce the fat shaming that can easily be found on social media content. It encourages people to focus on their strengths and abilities, rather than their physical appearance, and to celebrate their bodies for what they can do, rather than how they look.

body positivity affirmation cards

Why is Body Positivity Important for Mental Health?

This is not just a feel-good movement; it has real implications for mental health and well-being. Here are some ways in which body positivity can benefit you mentally:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety. When you are constantly worried about your appearance and how others perceive you, it can be incredibly stressful and cause anxiety. Body positivity can help to reduce this stress and anxiety by promoting self-acceptance and self-love.
  • Boosts self-esteem and confidence. When you embrace your body and focus on your strengths rather than your flaws, you are more likely to feel confident and self-assured. This can translate into other areas of your life, such as work, relationships, and personal goals.
  • Improves body image. Body positivity can help to improve your body image, which is how you see and feel about your body. When you have a positive body image, you are more likely to take care of your body and prioritize your health and well-being.
  • Reduces eating disorders. Body neutrality can help to reduce the prevalences and thought of an eating disorder. Rather, it promotes a healthy and balanced relationship with food and body.
healthy food

4 Aspects of Body Image

How you view your body is important. There are 4 aspects of body image:

  1. Perceptual Body Image: This refers to how you see your body, not necessarily how it actually appears. It’s the mental representation you have of your physical self, which might differ from your actual physical appearance. This aspect involves the perception of your body size, shape, and appearance.
  2. Affective Body Image: This aspect deals with the feelings and emotions you have about your body and its parts. It encompasses your satisfaction or dissatisfaction with your appearance, body parts, or overall body image. Positive affective body image is associated with self-acceptance and a healthy body esteem, while negative affective body image can lead to feelings of shame, embarrassment, or anxiety.
  3. Cognitive Body Image: This involves the thoughts and beliefs about your body, including beliefs about appearance, attractiveness, and health. It includes the importance you place on appearance and how you believe others perceive your body. Cognitive body image can lead to preoccupations or obsessions with body weight, shape, or appearance.
  4. Behavioral Body Image: This aspect refers to the behaviors you engage in as a result of your body image. It can include checking behaviors, such as frequently looking in the mirror, grooming behaviors, dieting, exercising, or even avoidance behaviors, such as avoiding situations where your body is exposed or avoiding looking at one’s body. Behavioral body image is how one’s perceptions, feelings, and thoughts about their body translate into actions.

How to Embrace Your Body

  • Stop comparing yourself to others. When you compare yourself to others, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and self-doubt. I know this can be challenging with social media. Instead, focus on your own unique qualities and strengths. One of my favorite affirmations is my only competition is myself.
  • Practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion. Watch how you talk to and about yourself. Be gentle with yourself and remember that you are worthy of love and respect.
  • Surround yourself with an uplifting community. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and support you. Avoid toxic relationships and discourage negative self-talk.
  • Move your body in ways that feel good. Exercise and movement can be a great way to improve your mental and physical well-being. The key is to find a way of moving your body that feels good and enjoyable for you, rather than punishing or restrictive. Research and try different exercises or activities until you find something that you genuinely enjoy. The more you enjoy doing something, the more you will show up to get it done.
  • Focus on health rather than the scale. Instead of focusing on weight loss or achieving a certain body type, focus on overall health and well-being. This means nourishing your body with healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and prioritizing self-care.
  • Practice gratitude. Take time each day to appreciate your body and all that it does for you. Focus on the things that you love about yourself, rather than your flaws. Take the time to journal your thoughts.
  • Challenge negative self-talk. When you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk or body-shaming, challenge those thoughts and replace them with more positive and compassionate ones. Affirmations are a great way to counter negative thoughts.
What is body positivity?

FAQ’s about Body Positivity

Is body positivity only for people who are heavier in weight or have “imperfect” bodies?

No, body positivity is for everyone, regardless of their body size or shape. The movement is about promoting self-love and acceptance for all bodies, not just those that fit a certain mold.

Does body positivity mean I can’t strive to improve my health or fitness?

No, body positivity does not mean giving up on your health or fitness goals. It’s about prioritizing your health and well-being in a way that feels positive and sustainable for you, rather than punishing or restrictive.

Isn’t body positivity just an excuse for people to be unhealthy?

No, body positivity is not an excuse for unhealthy behaviors. It’s about promoting a healthy and balanced relationship with food and body, and prioritizing self-care and well-being.

How do you develop body positivity?

You can develop body positivity by replacing negative thoughts about yourself. One way to do this is by saying positive affirmations to replace the negative self thoughts. Develop healthy loving habits to support your physical and mental well-being.

What is a body positive mindset in real life?

In real life, body positivity supports loving and accepting yourself, no matter how you look. It is about loving yourself and making healthy choices to live a great life.

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In conclusion, viewing our body in a loving way is an essential component of our mental health and well-being. By embracing our bodies and rejecting harmful beauty standards, we can cultivate a positive body image that allows us to live our lives to the fullest. So let’s celebrate our bodies and all the amazing things they can do, and let’s work to create a world where everybody is valued and celebrated.

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