Most of us have our body hang-ups, whether it’s our soft, comfortable tummy or our strong, stocky-looking thighs. That is, unless maybe you’re JLO, but I would bet even Jenny still has her moments.
It’s an ongoing problem. A recent global survey revealed women’s body images issue had reached a “critical level”. The report, commissioned by Dove, found a staggering 89 percent of Australian women were cancelling plans, bypassing job interviews or skipping our of other engagements simple because of how they looked.
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Only 20 percent of those surveyed coloured themselves as having high self-esteem. The rest suffered a debilitating lack of confidence, from being less assertive to starving themselves or otherwise putting their health at risk. Shocking maybe, but not exactly surprising, thanks to social media and the constant stream of what our bodies supposedly should look like.
But what if we found a way to look at our bodies in a different way? Instead of holding them up to impossible beauty standards, what if we began to focus on their physical ability and what they can actually do? According to a new study, this shift in perspective could be the key to radicalising how we feel about our own bodies, and starting to bestow upon them the appreciation they deserve.
Researchers from Maastricht University and the University of Gothenburg sampled a group of 75 women and men, aged between 18 and 25. Participants were asked to write about either what their body could do or what their body looked like. This was then analysed to identify any common themes. The findings showed those who focused on their body’s functionality, rather than its aesthetic attributes, were more positive about themselves on the whole.
On the other hand, those who wrote about their bodies visually were more likely to compare and evaluate their physique in terms of how it measured up to a “normal”physical appearance, often describing their body in terms of a “project” that needed to be worked on, either by losing weight or applying makeup, as well as talking about what others made of their appearance.
Let’s face it, we all have our insecurities. Well, 89 percent of us. But if we appreciate how amazing our bodies actually are we might start to see them as the living miracles that they are.