Since body image is directly connected to how a person perceives their body, strategies to improve body image can focus on changing the way someone thinks about their body and themselves. In addition, limiting external factors that have a negative influence on this self-perception can also be helpful.
A positive body image is not based on having a “perfect” body. It is about having a positive and realistic perception of one’s own body – improving body image is about feeling good about your own body.
These strategies can help you improve your body image:
- Acknowledge that the reality is everyone’s body is different – there is no “perfect” body and that is more than ok. We are all different.
- Stop focusing on what your body is or isn’t, or can’t do. Focus on all the ways your body works for you every day – embrace what your body does for you.
- Surround yourself with a positive social support system – people who encourage and help you feel good about yourself.
- Focus on taking care of yourself and your body. Engage in activities that make your body feel more relaxed or rejuvenated and healthy.
- Focus on the parts of your body that you like. Maybe it is your smile or your freckles or your strong legs. Make a list of what you like about your body.
- Consider your other talents and abilities – remind yourself of all your positive qualities. Don’t just focus on the physical – add these qualities to your list of what you like about your body and look at your list regularly as a reminder of all the things you like about yourself.
- Don’t body shame yourself or other people and don’t compare yourself to others – recognize these critical thoughts as they happen and remind yourself that they only contribute to feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction
- Seek out social media, entertainment, activities, etc. that promote body positivity. Block or limit exposure to the ones that contribute to negative body image
- Practice positive self-talk. Create a positive affirmation and repeat it when you find yourself returning to critical thoughts (“I have a beautiful smile,” or “I am learning to love my body.”). Try to talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend you were trying to encourage.
Having a more healthy body image can improve self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. It can influence one’s behaviors and choices in all areas of life, including how a person interacts in relationships, school, and work performance, etc. Mental health professionals can help support people in utilizing strategies to improve body image and self-esteem.