How to Overcome Body Dysmorphia
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) or body dysmorphia is a quickly growing mental illness in both the male and female populations. BDD is a disorder that causes you to have a flawed and warped image of yourself.
This warped image creates significant distress for the person struggling. So much so that it interrupts their daily routine. It can become an obsession for someone with body dysmorphia to do everything from starvation to cosmetic surgery to fix their perceived flaws.
There are ways to overcome BDD and have a healthy and loving relationship with yourself. First, we must address what to look for in a person with body dysmorphia.
Signs of Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- Constantly checking reflection in the mirror
- Picking yourself apart in private and in front of others
- Feeling ashamed of your appearance
- Always wanting reassurance from others
- Your worth is based on your appearance
- Avoiding social events and photos
Helping Yourself Overcome Body Dysmorphia
1. Physical activity
Being active will help you feel better about yourself. Exercise of any kind releases endorphins. So do something you enjoy and this will help to lessen the effects of body dysmorphia.
- HIIT or LIIS
Getting out and being active is the only proven way to help anyone better their confidence and their mental health. This is because it changes your brain chemistry and releases feel-good chemicals that can only be released through exercise.
Humans were made to be active. This is a necessity to have a healthy functioning life and mindset.
2. Positive affirmations
There are plenty of great things about positive affirmations. A lot of people avoid them at first because they feel weird to do. With body dysmorphia, these affirmations are crucial to your wellbeing.
This is a great way to reprogram your brain. You will eventually be able to change your thought process. Normally people with body dysmorphia struggle with negative automatic thoughts.
Automatic thoughts are the thoughts that happen when your brain goes on autopilot. They are hard to control and start happening before you even realize what is going on.
Positive affirmations for body dysmorphia are difficult. One way to work on becoming more comfortable in your body is to walk around your house naked. Whenever you pass a mirror you should stop and hype yourself up, even when you do not feel like it. Unorthodox but it really works.
Using your affirmations to develop a love for yourself and your body is the goal.
3. Have a plan of action
When BDD starts kicking in, have a plan to stop it in its tracks. There are countless ways to stop your spiraling thoughts. All it takes is a little bit of practice.
- Snap your wrist with a hair tie or rubber band when you start having negative thoughts about yourself
- Have a hobby ready to go to distract your mind
- Journal out everything you are feeling about yourself
- Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend when they say something like this
- Immediately give yourself three compliments for every insult you tell yourself
- Avoid mirrors and your reflection
The point of having a plan of action is to ensure that you train yourself to automatically have healthy thoughts when you start degrading yourself. Eventually, it will work, it just takes consistency and practice.
4. Unfollow anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself
This should be the number one rule of social media. Unfortunately, it seems to be the number one toxic behavior we all do.
If you are following someone on social media who makes you feel insecure about your life, you need to unfollow them! I promise you will feel so much better when they are not on your feed and you are not comparing yourself to them daily.
We love to compare ourselves to others. Why? No one really knows the answer to that. What we do know is that comparison leads to nothing but low self-esteem and false views on who you really are.
Photoshop and surgery are very real and people do not look like their pictures on Instagram.
5. Remember that you are your worst critic
You do not look the way you do in your mind. Let me repeat that…you do not look the way you do in your mind.
With body dysmorphia, you developed a warped body image of yourself. Usually, you view yourself as much larger and more flawed than you really are.
You are your own worst critic of your life and your appearance. No one sees the flaws you degrade yourself for. People do not look or care near as much as you think they do. That is not said to be harsh, but to help you realize that no one is judging you like you are judging yourself.
Looking at body dysmorphia and the damage it can do to you, mentally and physically, is the reason this needs to be addressed by everyone. This may not be an eating disorder, per the DSM-V, but it often leads to deadly disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.
Being able to raise your self-esteem and overcome your body dysmorphia will help you to live a healthy life full of love and happiness.
As a recap, here are five ways to overcome this disorder:
- Physical activity needs to be a priority
- Practice your positive affirmations daily
- Have a plan of action when you feel triggered
- Get rid of anyone or anything that makes you feel bad
- Remember that you are your own worst critic in life
What do you feel helps boost your confidence the most? Let us know below in the comments.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596