With so many messages thrown to young people through Social Media channels, media images, and popular television ‘reality’ shows, many can feel completely inadequate in terms of how they portray their own body image. Align these self-perceptions of body image alongside concerns about mental-health, it is simple to see how destructive inner-conversations can become.
Psychology researcher Renee Engeln, whose book “Beauty Sick: How the Cultural Obsession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women” argues that even younger children are now becoming obsessed with their body-image, leading to the “epidemic of beauty sickness,” and that small changes in how girls think and talk about themselves can help them become more comfortable in their skin. See her TEDx talk below.
In her book, Engeln offers a fill-in-the-blank exercise that can be used with young people to feel more gratitude for their bodies.
I use my arms to __________.
My body helps me to __________.
I love that my body can ___________.
My legs allow me to __________.
My body feels strongest when _________.
Engeln found that focusing on what their bodies could do led young people to feel better about how their bodies looked, and could be a great activity to be used in schools to help students value the awesomeness of their own bodies.
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