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Body image satisfaction is a generally positive outlook regarding outer physical appearance. People with high levels of body image satisfaction tend to believe they are healthy and attractive without major flaws, such as excess weight. They also usually recognize that they do not have to strive for an idealized standard of attractiveness that popular culture promotes. Having a good body image often involves remembering that this socially-imposed beauty standard is largely unattainable as well as unhealthy and unrealistic. The effects of body image satisfaction can also include a more positive view of life in general since people with good body images know that they have value beyond surface appearances.
Different levels of body image satisfaction are often closely tied to how often people compare themselves to images of what society promotes as a desirable body image. People who regularly view images of thin, toned, and muscular models can sometimes develop habits of negative self-talk regarding their own appearances. This kind of inner dialogue can often lead to a poor body image over time. This cycle is usually difficult for most people to completely break without the help of a psychological counselor who specializes in these kinds of self image issues.
Increasing body image satisfaction can normally be accomplished through measures such as behavioral therapy, self-help techniques, and sometimes moderate appearance changes. Some people who begin a regular exercise regimen or select more flattering clothes often report improvements in their self images. Others who struggle with noticeable poor body images often need more comprehensive help to prevent more serious problems, such as eating disorders, from developing. This kind of situation can usually be more common among adolescents and young adults than any other age groups.
A better overall self image usually results from body image satisfaction. People who are happy with the way they look generally have fewer problems with intimacy and thus more positive relationships with significant others. They also tend to be more confident in social and professional situations, such as cocktail parties and business meetings, that require speaking in front of a group. Professionals who counsel those with body image problems often report that the self image improvement process normally takes time and dedication to keep old habits from resurfacing. People who have been successful in achieving a better body image can also be good sources of advice and encouragement for others who are still striving for this kind of self acceptance.