2 Main Reasons Why Females Don’t Have Healthy Body Image

Don’t have the healthiest body image? It’s not surprising—and there are several reasons why.  Below, we explore 2 different causes and how we can begin to overcome these negative perceptions.

When It Begins

Our perception of how we physically appear to others begins early in childhood. We continue to form perceptions of how attractive we are (or aren’t) as we graduate from childhood into adolescence. This self-appreciation or self-criticism continues to develop on through to adulthood. Feedback we get from peers, family, and the media all effect how we eventually see ourselves.

1) The Media

Perhaps one of the most pervasive reasons why healthy body image is distorted is because of the media. Tweens and teens are obsessed with social media, which flaunts perfectly composed selfies. Comments are quickly posted either praising or shaming the poser’s “attractiveness.” Girls compare themselves to others in bikinis, mini skirts, and prom dresses.

Actress Jennifer Aniston recently published an essay in the Huffington Post on this very issue. In her disgust with continual tabloid fabrications about her body, she decided to speak out. She explained that she’s, “…fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of “journalism,” the “First Amendment” and “celebrity news.”

Little girls and young women see distorted photographs of otherwise realistic-looking females. The subjects are airbrushed to appear blemish-free, small-waisted, and have perfectly sized, symmetrical breasts. The message is sent early on that if they don’t look like that, they’re not attractive. As Anniston adds, “The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing.”

2) Your Family

A recent study out of Cornell University depicts interesting results about female body image. Over 500 women between the ages of 20 and 35 were involved in the research. They were asked to recall if their parents discussed their weight when they were growing up. They discovered that parents who commented on their daughters’ weight caused negative perceptions for the females later in life.

As it turns out, weight-related remarks are damaging in two ways. One is that the girls can grow up to have an unhealthy, high BMI. That category was 27 percent more likely to recall their parents talking about their weight. The other bad effect revealed was that even those women who now have a healthy BMI, still have a negative self-image. As parents, better to stay quiet and model by making healthy food choices. Make the focus about health rather than weight.

Looking Within

Sometimes what we see in the mirror isn’t satisfying. It shouldn’t be that way. It’s important as women, we learn to love ourselves inside and out. Acknowledging your feelings and exploring their origin can help you melt away the negative thinking patterns. Dancing, moving, and yoga can help you rediscover the beautiful you. Believe it and you’ll be it.

Check out www.GetThrive.com for more articles about positive self-image and beauty.


7 Quick Fixes to Boost Your Mood

On any given day, you may feel out-of-sorts, under-the weather, or plain bummed out. Feeling low is natural at times, but staying stuck in a blah mood can affect your psychological health as well as your physical health. If you want to feel better, here are 7 ways you can quick-fix your mood into a more joyful and positive place.

1) Dance

You don’t have to go to a nightclub or a wedding. You can dance anywhere, anytime, and definitely in the privacy of your own home! Research has shown that dancing (even if it’s doing the hokey pokey, the Macarena, or making up your own moves) can improve your mental health and boost your mood. If you break a sweat, great! If you just get your groove on by moving your body to some music, alone or with others, you’re sure to feel better inside and out.

2) Color

A recent study published in the journal Art Therapy revealed that coloring (for children and adults) improved mood and reduced anxiety. Painting has also been found to boost symptoms of depression. Grab some supplies, and paper or a canvas (or even a wall!) and create a happy masterpiece.

3) Go Media-Free

According to an article in JMIR Mental Health, social media may make your low-mood lower. Step back from checking your devices for an hour or more and see how that feels. Also, if you’re a News junkie, give yourself a break from reading or hearing about the woes in the world. Replace screen time with a phone call, a visit, a walk, listening to music, painting, dancing, even cleaning the house.

4) Get Green

Recycling is great, but you can also get your mind and body into green for a quick mood boost. Take a walk in nature. In fact, studies show that you don’t even have to necessarily leave your home or office to feel the effects of greenery. You can look at views out a window, stare at a painting, or visit with a houseplant. Nature loves you.

5) Make a Happy Face

Smiling has been shown to make you feel happy. According to Psychology Today, “Your brain actually pays attention to what your body is doing, and it affects your emotions.” So even if you’re not feeling your peppiest (or don’t necessarily feel like smiling), just move your facial muscles into the position; you’ll be amazed at how it can improve your mood. Even better, think of something that makes you laugh. Easy, peasy, happier heart.

6) Think “Thank You”

It’s no secret that an attitude of gratitude can boost your mood quickly and deeply. But sometimes we get stumped on what to be thankful for if we’re really in the dumps. Great news: You can choose the simplest of things! You can be grateful for the ability to take a walk, to see a beautiful flower, or to be able to read. Each time you practice gratitude, it becomes a greater part of your everyday behavior. Thinking “thank you” can truly improve your mood.

7) Get Clean

Taking a bath or shower can revitalize you and improve your mental and physical wellbeing. You can take the time to pamper yourself, or you can take a brief cold shower. Studies have revealed that a brisk shower can jolt the brain into alleviating symptoms of depression. Water can detoxify your body and mind, and adjusting your water to different temperatures can improve your mood and your energy level.

All of the above tips are easy to try and won’t cost you a penny! Distract yourself with beauty, creativity, and joy, and you are sure to turn that frown into a smile—if not for a minute, perhaps the whole day! For many other helpful tidbits on optimum mental health, check out GetThrive’s archive of articles.







The Social Addiction

Too Much Facebook?

It’s so easy to do. Pick up your phone or tablet and surf your Facebook news feed for new posts, videos, and other forms of media and content. But in the amount of time we spend on Facebook on any given day, there are other more useful tasks that we could be doing that can improve our attitude and our health.

Average Addiction

The average person spends approximately 20 minutes each Facebook “session”. In those 20 minutes, several times a day, we could be exercising, reading a book, eating, sleeping or even being a more attentive parent, friend, or spouse.

The First Step

The fact is social media is an addiction—and an unhealthy one at that. We don’t realize how much it consumes our lives, but it does. One of the ways to tell if you have crossed over to the dark side is by your attitude. The next time you reach for your phone think about some other things you could be doing that are more productive or healthier. The first step to conquering an addiction is admitting there is a problem.



Is Social Media a Detriment to Your Mental Health?

Most of us have felt some form of frustration or stress from engaging in social media. Several recent studies, however, reveal that, overall, online interactions do not benefit mental health. If fact, some forms of social media are proving to significantly reduce mental and physical health.

Getting to Know You

There have been countless studies showing that our health thrives when we have positive relationships with others. A wealth of research has presented findings that personal social interactions are beneficial to physical and mental health. In many cases, it’s been concluded that the benefits of social well-being and social support can actually extend life expectancy.

This research, however, originates from analyzing face-to-face, real world interactions. The mental health effects from interactions between humans online and through electronics haven’t been studied quite thoroughly yet. A report recently published in Harvard Business Review, however, details findings from a study based on social interaction and social media; interestingly, and sadly, the results depict fairly devastating effects on mental health.

Facing Facebook

A study was conducted monitoring the mental health of those who used Facebook over a period of approximately two years. According to Facebook, its average user spends almost an hour on the site daily. Other surveys report that many social media users check their phones first thing in the morning upon waking. The perception, from a users standpoint, is that he/she is engaging in worthy social interaction.

The analysis compared the mental health effects of over 5,000 people who used Facebook for social interaction with those who participated in real world social activity (one on one or in groups.) In three separate waves of research, levels of mental health, physical health, and self-reported life satisfaction were measured.

The researchers concluded, “that while real-world social networks were positively associated with overall well-being, the use of Facebook was negatively associated with overall well-being.” Additionally, a decrease in mental health could be predicted over a year’s time using this platform as a means to social interaction. They also reported, “that both liking others’ content and clicking links significantly predicted a subsequent reduction in self-reported physical health, mental health, and life satisfaction.”

Social Isolation

Just as numerous studies have been conducted on human social interactions, so have those on social isolation. The absence of social networks in one’s life can be detrimental to positive mental health. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Social isolation of otherwise healthy, well-functioning individuals eventually results in psychological and physical disintegration, and even death.”

A study published earlier this year in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine revealed that heavy social media users were more likely to feel isolated. Of the 1,800 participants in the research, those who checked their social apps more often or spend more time on social media were three times more likely to have increased social isolation (than those who used social media less frequently.)

As more research is conducted, it appears that mental health may be comprised with increased use of electronic social interaction. The results of the recent studies suggest that real world interaction is far healthier, overall. So, let’s unplug for a little while and go out and make or meet a friend. We owe it to our good health!

Enjoy more articles on best health practices for you and your family on GetThrive!






American Journal of Preventive Medicine, March 2017