Men’s Health Month: Men Have Body Image Issues Too

Historically, body image issues have been considered a “woman’s problem.” While women have an average of 13 negative thoughts about their bodies each day, that’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 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 toward a better body image. First, a quick refresher: Body image is how you see yourself. When you focus on what you don’t like or convince yourself that your appearance is bad, it’s called a negative body image. This is described as feeling self-conscious, ashamed or anxious about your body.

Unfortunately, mass media can amplify body image issues. Men end up comparing themselves to Channing Tatum or Chris Hemsworth, instead of accepting their true selves. They believe if they don’t have six-pack abs or two percent body fat, they don’t measure up.

The thing about bad body image is that it’s all in your head. Here are a few ways to get rid of those negative thoughts to create a more positive outlook:

  • Surround yourself with supportive people who make you feel good about yourself.
  • Watch your words. Whenever you have a negative thought, write it out. Seeing it on paper may help you realize how nasty you’re being. A good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it at all.
  • Create a quick list of what you love about yourself—it doesn’t need to be physical. Shift your perspective and focus on what amazing things your body is capable of. Can you run around with your children for hours? Are you a great swimmer? Can you carry heavy groceries in one trip? Be thankful for the little things.

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Photo credit: GCShutter

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