Body image and mental health are closely related. They are the two sides of the same coin, a coin called “us”. The way we think our body is and how we see it is different. This affects the way we talk to ourselves and how we relate to others. More importantly it affects our mental health.
Body image and mental health are so closely linked we should stop a moment and be honest with ourselves. In this article we will reflect on how we can strengthen our perception of how we look. So, in doing that, we will be able to live a healthier life.
Body image and mental health is nothing new
Romans were used to say “Mens Sana in Corpore Sano“, which means that a healthy mind lives in a healthy body. Today the complexity of our society pushed a change in what the Romans were used to say. Body and mind interact with each other. Not only a healthy mind can only flourish in a healthy body. A healthy body needs a healthy mind. Body image and mental health is a closed circle.
There is a strong relation between body image and mental health. The relation between the two has been underlined in a study which analysed people involved in cosmetic surgery. The results of the “before and after” are significant!
The body affects the mind
A recently released study indicates that the number of teenagers whom are resorting to diet to control their body shape is huge. We are talking of almost 50% of the young female population. Our perception of our body pushes us to change our habit. In extreme cases it also created dangerous situations. Body dysmorphic disorder, the obsessive preoccupation of the flaws in our appearance, is in sharp rise.
We focus on details and we are bombarded by messages of perfection. Instagram and social media in general are one of the channels through which BDD can spread. We look around and we see perfect lives and perfect bodies. They are in our magazine and our social media timeline is full of them.
Getting to terms with who you are
We want to be the best of ourselves at any time. This incredible perception of our body, yet the ability to believe the lying mirrors is our mental downfall. Our ability to body shame ourselves with the way we talk to yourself is cunning. We use the most terrible words in describing our flaws. I won’t ask you if you do it, yet I would admit I am doing it on myself.
“What a piece of fatty shit!” I found myself murmuring to myself after having seen my reflection in the mirror. Wow, that’s harsh. I would have never used those words for anyone else in the world. So why am I body shaming myself? Because we don’t listen enough to the words we use in describing ourselves. We don’t believe that we are hurting us. And if our mind is hurt, the first reaction is not “I am going to hit the gym!”, more likely it is going to be a chocolate biscuit. Ouch!
A man with a belly
Body image and mental health is not a women’s problem. In the past few days two things happened that gave a hit to my confidence. The first was a photo a friend took of me. It showed me that the belly that I have been growing in the last few years is now ripe. I looked at that photo and thought: enough! The second was meeting a guy exactly my age and comparing his body to mine. I admit that his body would have shamed the most of us, but I still compared myself, something I strongly preach against.
Both of them are completely my faults, and I am working hard to get to a solution. The truth is that before a solution, I want to come to terms with myself. When I was in my twenties I was two stones lighter than today. I was very active and I had a nicely shaped six pack. My “coming to terms” with myself starts from understanding that the Carlo I am today is not the one I was yesterday. I have a sedentary life, I turned forty and I am a bit lazier than I was before. If I want to find a guilty, I need only looking in the mirror. Yet, coming to terms with who I am is the first step towards healing my body. Remember: “Mens Sana in corpore sano”!
What about boudoir photography
As a boudoir photographer it is challenging to decide which photographs to publish. From one side there is the pressure of showcasing what the general public loves. From the other there is our stand on self confidence, and in today’s post the body image and mental health link. The truth is that we photograph real women. They can be your neighbour, your son’s teacher or the girl across the road. They don’t have perfect bodies, they all have their hangups, but they all come here for one reason: they want to see themselves from an external eye.
The body image and mental health link is so strong that seeing through good photos is a huge boost to yourself. We do not change who our clients are, we do not show someone else’s body. What you see is you, just photographed in the right way. When the real you comes out, than that’s the photo we want to show you!
So… how are we doing? Are we publishing images you relate to? What if you could be in those photos and see yourself honestly, for the beautiful woman you are?