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Encouraging Positive Body Image Is More Important Than Ever

In a world where obesity numbers have skyrocketed, but the covers of magazines are still graced by thin men and women, it is no wonder that the world is facing an eating disorder problem like never before. Men and women, girls and boys across the globe face problems like anorexia and bulimia on a regular basis, and the age for these disorders seems to be decreasing as time goes on, moving into younger children and even affecting those in elementary schools. Children as young as ages six to eight have been reported to show signs and symptoms of poor body image and possible risks of eating disorders, and yet the world continues to address weight and eating problems in the same way; by ignoring them. Medical News Today reports: “Research out of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Waterloo found that this self-compassion might be an important means to increase positive body image and protect girls and young women against unhealthy weight-control practices and eating disorders.”

The lead on this study, Dr. Allison Kelly from the department of Psychology in Waterloo, has suggested that this is especially true in women who crave the notion that what they are going through is normal, and by empathizing rather than sympathizing, women gain the confidence that they need to take control of their body image and go forward in life.

Treating Yourself With Kindness

The study is an addition to the many research projects currently ongoing in the scientific community to determine what might help in the battle against weight related depression and poor self-image, especially for those suffering from an eating disorder. The research team found that how people treat themselves also makes a huge difference during these times, because the way that you speak to yourself can greatly increase the level of love that you feel for your body. This has the ability to change the way that your body image works as well as your relationship with food. Self-compassion has been shown to give women more of the confidence that they require to go forward and acknowledge imperfections without feeling guilty or abnormal because of them. The Daily Mail reports: “When we look in the mirror, most of us tend to be drawn to a part of our body we don't like. The tummy that sticks out or the spot on the chin. Instead of staring at the negative parts of your body when you look in the mirror, focus on something positive. This could be your long eyelashes, the curve of your waist or full lips.”

By focusing on good body image qualities rather than the negative ones you can instill a sense of satisfaction in yourself that can go far. For parents with children who suffer from poor body image, the same kind of therapy can be used to help your son or daughter learn to love their body and themselves. You can also further this by giving them a compliment on a feature that you know they feel comfortable with, and that isn’t associated with negativity for him or her.

Methods of Healing For Body Image

While there is no one way to help somebody with an eating disorder or poor body image, they can help themselves by tuning into what they need and making sure that they get that each and every day. There are holistic approaches to this such as meditation and reiki that have shown promise for those who believe in them. Meditation gives you the ability to tune into your center of thought and mindfulness and better understand what is bothering you regarding your body, and focus on how you can feel better about that, rather than on how to fix it. The Society Pages say: “While Americans are becoming increasingly “empathetic” to the issues surrounding youth and body image – perhaps through exposure to a Media Education Foundation video – it remains that there is no national initiative to combat this social effect that owes most (not all) of its influence from the cultural/creative industries. “

This leads us to wonder if the government should also be a larger part of finding new methods to heal the body image of those within North America. The youth of today will be the leaders of tomorrow, and confidence and often the key to success.

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