In a recent survey by Reach Out Ireland, 72% of teenagers named body image as a cause of stress

In a recent survey by Reach Out Ireland, 72% of teenagers named body image as a cause of stress

Body image and mental health

In our recent survey, What’s Wrecking Your Head?, 72% of teenagers named body image as a cause of stress.

Body image actually came third in the list as a stressor, after school and exams.

All consuming

There’s no question that concerns about body image can have an impact on our mental health. Worries about your appearance can be all-consuming, concerning many things including teeth, skin, weight, height, body hair or build.

Increasingly, there seems to be people with perfect teeth, glowing skin, ripped abs, and perfect hair everywhere.

If you’re not physically surrounded by people who look like that, you’ve only to look at your phone and your feed will be full of pictures and selfies of them.

The perfect selfie

We all know the right combination of cameras and lights trickery (ie bathroom mirrors and phones with filters) make-up, body oil, teeth whitening strips and filters can make for a great selfie.

Yet, when we look at other people’s selfies we seem to forget all the work that goes into them and can be left feeling inadequate.

We are also now living in a culture, where some people alter their appearance rather dramatically, either surgically or with punishing diets or workout regimes and make it look quite easy. Well, sorry, but it’s not easy.

Damaging self-esteem

Talking about body image can be tricky depending on who you’re talking to. Some of us have things we wouldn’t mind changing, but are overall, happy with our lot.

But, for others it can be a huge cause of distress and have a very damaging impact on their self-esteem.

Love what makes you different

We are all different. Believe us, that is a good thing. You may really adore or idolise someone’s look or appearance, and can adopt elements. There’s no harm in that. But, make it your own.

Don’t try be someone’s clone. Unless you want to make a career as an impersonator, what is the point?

More than your looks

Remind yourself, you are a three-dimensional person with opinions, experiences, ideas, emotions, likes, dislikes, fears and loves. Do not do yourself the disservice of thinking the sum of you is your looks.

Check out the helpful links for more about body image, mental health and self-esteem.