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How to improve your self image

You do YOU!

Life can change radically when you leave home to start a job, study further, or travel and these changes can sometimes take their toll emotionally. At these times, you need to be confident to feel successful and enjoy new situations. Self-image plays a huge role in facing new challenges, but we can fall into the habit of basing our self-image on what we believe other people think of us. Concentrating on how others see you most often negatively impacts on your mental health.

Self-image is based on self-esteem. A low self-esteem influences all aspects of our lives and shapes our psychological and physical well-being. Being too harsh on yourself can be damaging, and possibly even stop you from reaching your goals. Getting stuck in a negative mindset can also lead to depression and be the first step towards developing a poor self-image. But there are ways to build a positive self-image, and the good news is that they mostly have nothing to do with what others think of you

Body-image is a very important part of self-image. Social media idealizes the perfect body type and can harm what you see in the mirror putting young people at risk of developing eating disorders and damaging their health. In a Youth Focus Group, a participant expressed that she has realized being too critical about her body, means her self-image and self-worth suffer. She shared that this usually happens when she admires someone else’s body and compares it to her own. This is when danger zone comes into play. It is important to remind yourself that we are all unique and each of us is beautiful in our own way. And remember that the person you are admiring, likely thinks that they are imperfect too!

Everyday conversation can also influence the way we see ourselves without us being aware of it. Are you quiet in a group because you are nervous that you may come across as unintelligent or boring? Hate to break it to you, but most of the time when you think others are judging you, you could be the one who is judging yourself by focusing on things that others are most likely not even thinking about. Without a healthy self-image it is hard to maintain friendships and make new friends. Positive relationships are vital to mental health, you can become lonely and lose important support without meaningful interactions. So, try to put your best foot forward when you are in a social situation, believe the best in others and yourself! Kick judgement to the kerb!

True self exploration and introspection are key but are also incredibly challenging. By exploring who you really are you are learning to love yourself (be brutally honest in a constructive way). Self-love means accepting all aspects of yourself! To get you started on your self-love journey, make a list of 10 things that you love about yourself. If you get stuck, ask friends what they love about you. You may be surprised that they accept you just as you are, and they are battling the same issues!

When you feel sick you go to a doctor, get medication, exercise, and eat food that gives you the nourishment you need. It is just as important to nurture healthy emotions. Do not compare yourself to others or wait around trying to change until you think they like you. Shape your self-image around your own ideals – really, just be YOU.

There are several things you may do to boost your self-esteem:

Develop Positive Relationships and Avoid Negative Relationships

If you can, avoid people that make you feel horrible about yourself. Build relationships with individuals that make you feel good about yourself and avoid partnerships that make you feel bad about yourself.

Take Some Time Off

Take a break for yourself. We all have periods when we feel low or struggle to retain our self-belief. Be gentle with yourself and try not to be too hard on yourself. Avoid criticizing oneself in front of others since it might reinforce your negative beliefs while also giving others a (perhaps false) negative perception of you. You may increase your self-esteem by rewarding yourself every time you complete a difficult task or just for getting through a particularly difficult day.

Develop Assertiveness and the Ability to Say No

Acting as though you believed in yourself might sometimes help you believe in yourself more! Celebrate when you feel well or do something positive, but don’t belittle yourself if you periodically revert to negative thought patterns. Simply get back up and attempt to think more optimistically. This will eventually become a habit, and you will notice that your self-esteem has quietly improved. As your self-esteem grows, so will your confidence and sense of well-being.

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