What is a positive body image? It’s feeling good about the way your body looks, and how it functions. However, as we age, changes occur, maybe not for the better. They can negatively affect our self-image.
– Self-Acceptance: Part of having a positive body image is self-acceptance – being happy with the person you see in the mirror each morning. That doesn’t mean you see yourself as perfect. It does mean that you are happy with yourself. Self-acceptance means that even though you may want to make reasonable self-improvement changes over time, for right now you’re all right with the way you look.
– Poor Body Image Consequences: Not liking who you are, and how you look, can have detrimental effects both mentally and physically. Common mental conditions like anxiety, depression and eating disorders bring down your self-esteem and self-worth. It can even get so bad that people see suicide as the only way out. As your mental condition deteriorates, so does your physical condition. You stop exercising and eating right. You gain weight which can result in medical issues like diabetes, heart disease and hypertension… just to name a few.
– The Benefits of Having a Healthy Body Image: By accepting yourself now, you can accept changes that happen over time as part of the natural aging process. Yes, of course you’ll do what you can to slow them down, like exercising and eating healthy. But don’t let them affect your positive outlook on life or on yourself. When you feel good about yourself, you’ll maintain your social interaction with friends and family. You won’t isolate yourself as many seniors do who have poor self-images. Several studies have found that connecting with other people increases longevity. Sure, you may have more wrinkles than you used to. And yes, certain parts of your body aren’t as firm as they once were. But who cares? You are the same person you have always been. In fact, in many ways you are probably a better person than you were several years ago. You have experience. These are your Golden Years. Enjoy them for as long as you can. In the end, the decision is yours. You can be positive about yourself, both inside and out, and enjoy your future to the fullest. Or you can be miserable and dread each day as the sun rises. Why would you choose the latter? Choose the former and enjoy life! (By A B Fraser, MD)