It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s very timely theme is Body Image – How we think and feel about our bodies.
Body beautiful? Depends on the century
Awareness about image is as old as culture, clearly evidenced by the heavy eye makeup of Ancient Egyptian kings and queens; or the Greek hunter, Narcissus who lingered too long upon his reflection when the puddle was invented.
Insecurity about appearance unites all genders. While hairstyles, dress sense and fashions for fat or thin have changed throughout the centuries, (Baroque artist Rubens with his love for big women springs to mind), dissatisfaction about our appearance remains a problem.
More ways to critique ourselves than ever
Mark Twain observed, “The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself”. Today with the advent of iPhones, people are living that out. We now spend more time in self-absorption looking at images of ourselves and analysing others with a Narcissistic and addictive quest for ‘likes’ in social media than ever before. We are increasingly desensitised to extreme plastic surgery as modelled by Hollywood trout-pouts, the Kardashians and our very own Katie Price. When cultural influencers and Hollywood role models think they don’t look good enough and need surgical intervention, is it any wonder millions of young people see themselves as plain and ugly?
Social media dependence as addictive as slots
As well as the many benefits of online connectivity, there are downsides too. Like slot machine addiction (social media software uses similar algorithms to gambling apps), people are continuously checking their phones for validation about their popularity and appearance, with serious implications for mental health. According to Mental Health Awareness Week website, cultures focused on materialism, consumption and celebrity fare badly in terms of mental health. People who are comfortable with their body and appearance usually have a much greater sense of wellbeing than those who do not, the latter more likely to engage in self-harming behaviour or even suicide.
Your mind can change your body
Mind and beliefs do affect your physiology. In my private hypnotherapy practice I help many people overcome the distress of perceived poor body image, many of whom also battle eating disorders, addictions, self-harm, or suffer online ridicule and bullying. I have techniques and resources to help build positive change in their lives to improve self-esteem and develop and maintain good mental health.
Excessive social media and gaming addictions are two areas I have seen a big increase in recently. I have blended a range of powerful interventions to help including Clinical Hypnosis, NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), (EI) Emotional Intelligence, IEMT (Integral Eye Movement Technique) and TFT (tapping) to develop self-awareness; engage a new perspective; improve confidence; and improve quality of life.
Lower your risk of poor mental health at home and at work
As well as individual therapies and consultations, I provide a range of bespoke leadership and management courses for business to deliver wellbeing and motivation in the workplace.
I may not have all the answers, but have experience and testimonials from clients who have managed to turn their lives around from anxiety, stress and addiction to a new and healthy focus, helping them discover what really matters to them, teaching them to be kinder to their bodies and healthier in their mind. Please contact me for more information.