Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 – Body Image

“30% of all adults have felt so stressed by body image and appearance that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. That’s almost 1 in every 3 people”

“Mummy, I really like the lines on your belly. I like the swirly patterns they make.” – said an 8 year old girl to her mother. Along with, “I don’t think you should dye your hair. The grey makes you look like a wise old woman.”

Children don’t have an innate knowledge of what beauty is, they learn it from those around them and what they experience. Yet a negative body image is all too common these days.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2019

Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 will take place from Monday 13 to Sunday 19 May 2019. The theme for 2019 is Body Image – how do we think and feel about our bodies?

Is there an ideal shape and size? Should we be comparing ourselves to others, or is our celebrating our individuality and having the confidence to know that real beauty comes from within the real deal? The cliché of “beautiful souls” could never be more true.

The way we present ourselves, the range in which we are able to do that in today’s society is getting more diverse than ever. Men in skirts? Great! He looks amazing, especially if he is walking with confidence. The boundaries between gender and the way it is performed are currently being reimaged, yet so many of us still struggle to celebrate our individuality when it comes to our bodies.

The Statistics and Social Media

“50% of mental health problems are established by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 24. 30% of all adults have felt so stressed by body image and appearance that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. That’s almost 1 in every 3 people.” (Mental Health Foundation Statistics).

The truth is, no matter how beautiful the dress or how perfect your nails, the way you carry yourself says it all. Many young girls will look up to the supermodels, the rich and famous, and strive to be them. There are some positives, yes, as there are some incredible people using their influence for good. Sadly, there is also the world of photoshop and unrealistic expectations which are continually flooding the minds of teenagers and even adults.

This isn’t to blame social media, on the contrary, there is lack of real evidence that social media causes a negative body image alone. Although correlations have been found, there is still real research to be done in order to establish cause. In fact, social media can also have the power to reimagine what real beauty looks like.

Smile! There is more than one way to be beautiful.

It’s no longer all about how to get the perfect selfie, with the best effects and pouts. While some are still consumed by these unrealistic images of beauty, there is also campaigns for more genuine faces appearing online. #NationalSelfieDay, had a counter campaign promoting No filters. No retouching. Just you and your smile.

Over the years Dove (some more successful than others) have also launched many marketing beauty campaigns, with their #MyBeautyMySay, to challenge the status quo of what real bodies look like. Showing that they come in all shapes and sizes.

“Doesn’t she look great today, just look at that smile.”

What all the campaigns have in common, is that there isn’t one way to be beautiful. Beauty can be seen in the laughter lines of people, the confidence in their stride and the genuine smile they wear on the face. The stretch marks as the little girl pointed out to her mother, or the wisdom found in grey hairs. Our challenge to you is to change your language around body image. Use encouraging and supportive language and smile when speaking to others and with your own self-talk. It’s amazing how many heads you can turn or smiles you bring out in others if you walk with confidence and greet everyone with kindness.

This Blog was written by Alex Stumpp, Intern at Discover Your Bounce.

http://www.discoveryourbounce.com

If you want to know more about Mental Health Awareness Week take a look at https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

For more help on mental health awareness in the workplace take a look at https://www.time-to-change.org.uk

#bodyimage #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawarenessweek #MHAW #livelaughbounce

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About The Author

Sharon Critchlow

Sharon Critchlow is a Wellbeing Advocate, speaker and facilitator at Discover Your Bounce for Business. Passionate about people being the best they can be she is a Time To Change Champion for mental health and holds a Masters level qualification in strategic coaching for performance. Sharon is a qualified accountant and has 20 years experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. www.discoveryourbounce.com www.time-to-change.org.uk