With Instagram filters and photo shopping images seemingly the way forward, the self-esteem of even the most self-confident teenager can take a beating. HEALTH discusses body image in teens with Counselling Psychologist Reem Shaheen.
According to Reem, teenagers today are exposed to articles and images that suggest what their bodies are supposed to look like. “This leaves them feeling dissatisfied with their bodies and eventually leads them to having a negative relationship with it,” she says. Now, more attention needs to be given to raising the awareness of teenagers against what they are exposed to in social and mainstream media.
Body image, defines Reem, is what one believes their appearance looks like. “It also includes how one feels about his/her own body and sense of control over it as it moves,” she explains, and it is about how one feels in their body. The importance of body image is that it affects how individuals treat themselves and their bodies. Individuals with negative body image tend to have a distorted image of it, feel ashamed, and self-conscious. They believe that their body is a sign of their failure and that others won’t be attracted to them.
In order to have a positive body image, develop the following:
- An honest perception of their body shape, size, and height.
- Remember that beauty is a not skin deep, ‘true beauty’ stems from feeling good about yourself and having self-confidence.
- Refuse to spend unreasonable amount of time worrying about food, calories, and exercise.
- Keep a long list of things you like about yourself that has nothing to do with your body.
- Appreciate what the body can do. After all, the body is the vehicle that carries you towards your dreams.
- This doesn’t mean that having a positive body image promotes unhealthy living, tells Reem; it is actually the opposite. It promotes recognizing the capacity and limitations of our bodies as they are, without comparing them to others.