Men’s Health Month: Men Have Body Image Issues Too
Body image issues are often thought of as something women deal with. And while that is true (women have an average of 13 negative thoughts about their bodies every day), it’s only half the picture. In a recent survey, 53 percent of men say they worry about how they look on a weekly basis. In fact, men worry more about their appearance than they do about their health, family, relationships or professional success. In honor of Men’s Health Month, it’s time to put a stop to those negative thoughts and start working together toward a better body image.
First, a quick refresher: Body image is how you see yourself, whether it’s when you’re actually looking in the mirror or just picturing your appearance in your mind. If you focus on what you don’t like about your looks or convince yourself that your appearance is bad, that’s called negative body image. If you’ve ever felt ashamed, self-conscious or anxious about your body, those are signs of negative body image.
Unfortunately, pop culture can make body image issues worse. Men end up comparing themselves to Channing Tatum or Chris Hemsworth, meaning if they don’t have six-pack abs and two percent body fat, they don’t measure up.
But the thing about having bad body image is that it’s all in your head. And that means there are things you can do to turn your focus from what you don’t like about yourself to what you do. Here are a few things you can do to create a more positive outlook on your body:
- Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. When others make you feel good about yourself, it’s easier to believe them.
- Overpower negative thoughts with positive ones. Whenever you put yourself down in your head, write it out. Seeing those thoughts down on paper may help you realize how nasty you’re being. A good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t say something to a friend, don’t think it about yourself.
- Create a quick list of what you love about yourself—it doesn’t need to be physical. Shift your perspective and ask yourself what amazing things your body is capable of. Can you run around with your children for hours? That’s a pretty good reason to be grateful for what your body can do for you.
For more ways to love the skin you’re in, check out our recommended blogs at the top of the page.
Photo credit: Pier-Luc Bergeron