Simple Ways To Protect Your Mental Health When You're Feeling Down About Your Body

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

In a world where filters are normalized, it's hard to know what real and authentic bodies are anymore. The modern world has become so obsessed with perfection that researchers are worried that what may seem like harmless digital enhancements are contributing to increased anxiety and body dysmorphia IRL (via Harvard Business Review). The problem is so pervasive that lawmakers worldwide are regulating the use of augmented filters with increased concern about their effects on mental health (via the BBC). In addition, the link between social media and body image is becoming increasingly apparent, with one in 50 people admitting to struggling with body dysmorphia, per D'Amore Mental Health.


With increased pressure from the internet to constantly project a picture-perfect life and body, the days when you feel you're not meeting these standards can be really heavy. So, what steps can you take to protect your mental health from absorbing all the superficial societal norms?

Talk to yourself nicely

Talking to yourself may seem cliché or even unnatural. Still, researchers have found that positive self-talk has the power to impede negative emotions because of its supporting and affirming nature (via Healthline). According to researchers from the University of Michigan, the language one uses about themselves has the ability to reduce stress and anxiety as a sort of regulatory mechanism. So, mindfulness around self-talk is incredibly important. 


Furthermore, in Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn's book "No Mud No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering," he discusses the different "arrows of suffering," one being the stories we tell ourselves in relation to anxiety. The narratives we create about our bodies are so important. We need to tell one that doesn't cause turmoil.

Put on an outfit that makes you feel good

Wearing the right clothes can have a major impact on your self-confidence. Find something that fits you nicely and makes you feel like your best self (via Reviewed). Everyone has that one outfit that makes them feel invincible because it fits perfectly and outwardly expresses their essence. It's also important to choose clothes that fit you properly and feel comfortable. Even if an outfit is trendy, feeling awkward or uncomfortable in it will not help your confidence. Instead, choose clothes that are natural to you and make you feel your greatest.


Remember that even celebrities struggle with their body image

It's hard to think that our favorite idols that we spend hours obsessing over or whose looks we desperately want to emulate are also experiencing issues with their body image. Recently teen singer and fashion barrier-breaking icon Billie Eilish admitted that at one point, she "couldn't look in the mirror at all" (via the BBD Foundation). Even Selena Gomez, who at one point had the most-liked Instagram picture of all time, admitted, "Some days, I like what I see," adding, "Other days, I'm like, 'I'm not even going to bother'."


Even Lizzo, the queen of self-love, told fans on social media that "on the days when I should feel the happiest — I feel so down" after continuously receiving fatphobic and racist comments during what should have been the then-height of her career (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Be mindful of your media intake

Media consumption is at an all-time high, with the average adult taking in more than 11 hours a day, revealing a more than 20% progression from the numbers a decade ago (via Visual Capitalist). What's more, skincare brand Dove recently released a shocking statistic indicating that "90% of girls confess to following at least one social media account that makes them feel less beautiful."


It's no surprise that the media can sometimes be a conduit for messaging impossible beauty standards with little to no representation of the full range of bodies. With this in mind, make sure you are limiting time spent on social media if you feel it might be contributing negatively to your mental health. Also, be mindful that the digital landscape is not always an accurate representation of real people and real bodies.

Challenge yourself to defy the status quo

What if the reason you're feeling down about your body is that you're denying yourself the beauty of authenticity? Is it possible that rejecting impossible beauty standards holds the key to your happiness? Instead of judging your body, find space to acknowledge who you are without illusory societal norms (via Intention Inspired). Accepting the natural state of our bodies shouldn't be so revolutionary, but it is. Challenge yourself to quiet the external and love your body the way it is in its present state. From there, you can fall deeper in love with yourself.