Cause: Images in magazines of ‘perfect’ beauty, critical parents, bullying and having low self esteem. Facial disfigurement, hair loss, being overweight or underweight and illnesses such ascancer can also cause poor body image.
Effect: You might feel ashamed, self-conscious, anxious or obsessed with how your body looks to others. This may lead to eating disorders, self-neglect, self-hatred and destructiveness, and a fear of intimacy, as well as depression and anxiety disorders.
Solutions: Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself.
Consider joining a support group.
Make a list of your good points- both physical and mental- and stick it next to your mirror.
Every day, read the list and focus on each thing you like about yourself.
Stop criticising yourself, as it will damage your body confidence further.
Think optimistic thoughts before you get to the mirror each day.
Dress in a way that makes you feel happy and comfortable. Use clothes to express your personality and show off your best features, and don’t try to squeeze into a smaller size.
Avoid looking at fashion magazines, and remember that most model pictures are the result of hours of make-up, specialist lighting and air-brushing.
Pamper your body with massage, long baths and lotions. Every now and then, splash out on a new perfume or manicure.
Take on challenges, like using a communal changing room or leaving the house with no make-up. Your confidence will grow.
Remember that it’s more important to be healthy than thin or perfect.
Enjoy physical sensations; the wind in your hair, sun on your skin, the freedom of running along a beach or breathing in crisp winter air.
Make time for gentle physical touch; hug your friends or hold hands with your partner.