Body Image is the positive or negative perception that a person has of their physical self, and is influenced by individual and external factors. Our sense of body image comes from how we see ourselves and how others see us. It may also be affected by unrealistic representations of male and female bodies in the media. Many selfies can be artistically altered by an App such as photoshop, and then released on media as being the perfect image.
This, in turn, may contribute to others receiving and seeing these near ‘perfect’ pictures to feel imperfect and worthless, therefore lowering their self-esteem and affecting their mental health. However, keep in mind that those who send these ‘near perfect’ images, might already have a low level of self-esteem and a negative body image of themselves, so neither sending nor actively engaging in these images, are a healthy option.
A negative body image, as well as causing stress and anxiety, may also lead to excess dieting or exercising in order to lose weight or gain muscle. This affects physical health as well as mental health and further reduces resilience to mental health problems. Individuals may isolate themselves because they don’t like the way they look and this, in turn, can lead to anxiety and depression.
Alternatively, a positive body image can raise self-esteem and confidence. Actively limiting your time on social media (which could become addictive and unhealthy), and boosting enthusiasm for more positive outlets, is a healthier option.