It’s no secret that modern society and popular culture place a huge amount of importance on physical appearance and this has only become more and more intense since the explosion of social media. In many ways, it is teenage girls who have borne the brunt of this with an alarmingly high number developing severe body image issues and/or eating disorders. What the filtered images and airbrushed celebrities often don’t show is the fact that femininity and beauty come in all shapes and sizes and always begins with self-esteem and body confidence. Here’s how you can help your daughter to love the body she has.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
While body image issues are not uncommon amongst teenagers, there is a separate mental health condition called Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). Teenagers with BDD tend to obsess about specific parts of their body that they believe is not adequate or flawed in some way. They continue to focus on these features and will experience intrusive negative thoughts and anxieties. They may also try to change their appearance through over-exercising, over-grooming and may seek cosmetic surgery.
BDD often occurs alongside other mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and trauma. If you are concerned that your daughter is struggling with severe body-image issues and/or is showing signs of BDD, visit igniteteentreatment.com for professional advice and support.
Building a Better Body Image
Whether you decide to seek professional support for your daughter or you want to try and help her at home, here are some ideas to help you as you work to improve her body confidence and self-image.
Introduce them to meditation and/or yoga
To help your daughter to reconnect with her body and to become more aware of herself both mentally and physically, consider introducing her to meditation and yoga. Meditation and breathing exercises can ease symptoms of anxiety, and yoga can help people to become more comfortable in their bodies, which is a step towards self-love.
Encourage a healthy exercise routine
Exercising regularly can have a positive impact on not only physical health but can also be beneficial for mental health as it reduces the stress hormone cortisol and releases the happiness-promoting endorphins. It can also improve self-confidence and help her to feel empowered. If your daughter can find a sport or activity which she enjoys, she is more likely to stick with it. However, there is a risk that teenagers with body image issues may over-exercise, which can be dangerous, so it may be best to seek advice from a mental health professional or doctor on an appropriate level of exercise.
Be a positive role model
When parents express that they are unhappy with their weight or their appearance, this negative body image is often passed on to their children. Positive relationships with family and friends are essential for a teenager’s self-esteem and in building a positive self-image. When teenagers are praised for their hard work at school or other activities, rather than focusing on physical attributes, and they have support and encouragement, they are more likely to have better self-esteem.
Reduce time on social media and the internet
Social media has been proven to have a significant impact on body image as they are more likely to see unrealistic and edited images of celebrities, influencers, and their peers. In fact, a survey by ‘Ideal to Real’ found that 80% of teenage girls compare themselves to images of celebrities, and nearly half said that those images made them feel dissatisfied with the way they look. By limiting the amount of time a teenager spends on the internet you can minimize her exposure to these unhelpful and superficial images and enable her to focus on what’s important in life: her family, friends, her unique talents, skills, and personal qualities and her future.