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6 Things that affect your body confidence (for better or for worse)

BY Olivia Roberts

22nd Nov 2023 Wellbeing

3 min read

6 Things that affect your body confidence (for better or for worse)
In an extract from her new book How to Be Body Confident, Olivia Roberts shares six things that can impact your body confidence, both positively and negatively
The road to body confidence is not always straight. In fact, your feelings toward your body can fluctuate for a number of reasons. Here are some common triggers that might affect your body image.

Things that can negatively affect your body image

Social media 
In today’s digital age, social media is one of the biggest influences on body image. While there are plenty of online communities and safe spaces dedicated to lifting each other up, there are also many ways that social media can bring us down. The biggest issue that comes with frequent social media use is overexposure to “idealised” body types. When your social media feed is filled with the airbrushed bodies of influencers and celebrities, it can be hard to resist comparing their bodies with your own.
"The biggest issue that comes with frequent social media use is overexposure to 'idealised' body types"
It’s important to remember that these images are unrealistic, often highly edited and do not represent the beautiful and diverse range of body types out there. To reduce the harm social media has on your self-esteem, you can unfollow accounts that make you feel insecure about your body, find healthy and empowering online communities and take regular social media breaks.
Toxic relationships
Negative relationships can take a huge toll on your self-esteem. If you spend time with people who constantly put you down or don’t support and respect you as they should, this can leave you feeling as though you’re not good enough.
Unhappy couple
The best way to deal with a toxic relationship is to talk openly about your feelings and set clear boundaries. If these boundaries aren’t respected, it might be time to end the relationship, however hard a decision this might be.
Past experiences
A lot of our feelings around body image are established in our younger years, particularly during puberty. Significant negative experiences, such as bullying, can stay with us for years after the event and are a constant source of low self-esteem.
"A lot of our feelings around body image are established in our younger years"
Letting go of past experiences can be difficult, but with self-care, mindfulness and support from loved ones, it can be achieved.

Things that can positively affect your body image

Dressing to impress (yourself)
Is there a better feeling than when you confidently step out in an outfit that truly expresses who you are? Donning the clothes you love isn’t about craving attention or trying to impress others; it’s about wearing whatever you want because it makes you feel good. So, whatever your style, be it bright, bold, sexy or comfy, don’t hold back—if it feels right, then it is right.
Positive relationships
Studies have shown that our relationships are directly linked to how we feel about ourselves. This is why it’s so important to make sure we surround ourselves with people who lift us up and make us feel amazing.
Two friends hanging out at a pub
Whenever you’re feeling low about yourself, something as simple as a coffee break with a good friend can be just the thing to jolt you straight out of that rut. Finding your support network and investing time in friendships play a key role in your body confidence journey and are something we will explore more in the next chapter.
Practising self-care
Self-care is anything you do to take care of yourself so you can stay physically, mentally and emotionally well—and it’s absolutely crucial for maintaining a positive body image. To feel great about your body, you need to start showing it some love.
"Having self-care as part of your daily routine can improve your mental and physical health"
Self-care can range from physical activities, such as exercising and eating well, to mental and social activities, such as reading a book or enjoying lunch with a friend. Having self-care as part of your daily routine can improve your mental and physical health. It will also remind you just how much love your body deserves.
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How to Be Body Confident by Olivia Roberts (Vie, £12.99) is available now
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