Friday 16 April 2021
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newtimes - 1 month ago

Effects of bad body image

Over the years, society has rendered beauty with extreme importance, to the extent that those who believe to not meet the set standards can take extreme measures in an attempt to measure up. Such perceptions are said to cause insecurities with how people perceive who they are and how comfortable they are with their bodies.  Body image, according to experts, has potential to influence one’s life both mentally, socially and emotionally. What you think, feel and judge about your appearance matters in determining your own self-worth, they say. Sylvestre Twizerimana, a clinical psychologist, says a negative body image is common in almost all corners of the world and it is among both men and women. He believes that a cultural tendency to judge people by their appearance is among the top factors influencing this, adding that social media pressure is an influencing factor too. “Social media users are prone to this because many, at times, do comparisons—comparing themselves to peers and celebrities they follow,” he says. This, he says, has so many effects that are physiological, social and psychological, hence people need to be careful. “Having a negative body image may cause eating disorders, depression, and other related anxious behaviours. In case you are not satisfied with your body shape, look for a physiotherapist and get advice for the proper exercise to reshape your body where possible,” Twizerimana notes. He warns for one to be aware and observe when this is causing emotional disturbances. In case of such extreme effects, the psychologist advises to seek professional help in time before the condition worsens. Counsellor Innocent Kabera believes the primary cause of negative body image to be social mirrors. Socials mirrors include other people’s comments on your whether they are your peers or parents, and social media which is very influential and has powerful forces that influence the society about perfect bodies which standards are sometimes unrealistic, he explains. A negative body image can also develop during puberty when the body is changing, and sometimes the person doesn’t appreciate what he/she is seeing, he adds. This, Kabera says, can immensely affect your self-esteem by lowering it. It hinders your interpersonal relationships by lowering your interaction with others. Bad thoughts about yourself can also lead to using harsh words while describing yourself, he adds. The counsellor notes that such can even prevent someone from interacting socially and freely with others, for example, they can avoid anything that makes them see themselves like mirrors, participating in group photos, selfies and so on. “There can also be the development of eating disorders which can affect your health negatively. However, different methods can be used to overcome it, like lowering number of times spent on social media, or lessening the time spent looking at celebrities—sometimes this can make you envy them and this destroys your inner peace.” Kabera, hence, recommends that a person needs to view their body as a machine and them as the programmer.  “You are able to send in c write down the way you talk or describe yourself and then re-programme yourself or write new positive words of describing yourself. Surround yourself with loving and supportive people, engage in sports activities too—this releases hormones that trigger your happiness, and it might help you be or stay in shape,” he advises. The counsellor also recommends developing a culture of appreciating the power of diversity and spending time appreciating what your body can do instead of what it can’t. “When it is too much, seek a counsellor or a therapist. They are able to change the way you view yourself by changing the language you use when talking about yourself and your other misbehaviours.”


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