A positive body image means having an overall feeling of satisfaction with the various aspects of one's physical appearance and the capabilities of one's body. People who have a positive body image generally feel attractive, healthy, and comfortable in their bodies. It is important to note that having a positive body image does not necessarily mean feeling 100% content every moment, but instead can be described as feeling proud of the body the majority of the time. In many cases, a positive body image correlates with having high self-esteem, feeling confident in other areas of life, feeling comfortable in social situations, and promoting a general sense of happiness and satisfaction.
One of the most influential factors concerning body image is physical appearance. People who are able to look at their bodies and feel accepting of what they see have a positive body image. These people also have an accurate image of how their bodies appear to other people and are comfortable with the way they presume to be perceived. Body image can reflect how a person feels about his or her weight, body shape, facial features, and other unique characteristics.
Having a positive body image is also tied to how well a person feels his or her body serves them. People who are out of shape and uncomfortable with daily tasks, those suffering from debilitating injuries, or people who are seriously ill may be less likely to have a positive body image because they feel that their bodies are not performing well enough. In contrast, people who feel strong, healthy, and capable of attacking physical challenges are more likely to have a positive body image.
Body image is fragile and susceptible to changes over the course of an individual's life. Confident children with good body images may become insecure as they enter puberty and their bodies begin to change and grow. Similarly, women who are pregnant or entering menopause may suffer from a negative body image as they endure unprecedented changes to the way their bodies feel and behave. Significant weight gain or weight loss can also lead to a change in body image. People with high self-esteem or strong support networks are hopefully able to navigate these times of transition and uncertainty and emerge with a healthy attitude and positive body image.
There are many different approaches to nurturing a positive body image, but most encourage making healthy changes to habits and attitudes. For example, if excess weight or lack of muscle tone is an issue, people should slowly adopt manageable lifestyle changes such as eating healthily and exercising instead of attempting to rapidly and dramatically alter their figures with surgery or crash diets. Meeting a fitness goal can not only increase satisfaction with physical appearance, but can create a sense of accomplishment that boosts confidence and self-esteem.
Individuals hoping to better their body images should also bear in mind that widely regarded standards of beauty are not always attainable. It is not necessary to look precisely like celebrities to achieve a healthy body image. Instead, people should focus on asserting to themselves that their own bodies are unique and irreplaceable. Thinking about all the positive aspects of the body and all the wonderful things it is capable of can boost body image significantly.