Hi! My name is Olivia and I live in Denver, Colorado. I want to focus on mental health and specifically, how our community can help teenagers with body insecurities. I hope you learn something from my page!
“The feeling of not looking how you’re supposed to puts a lot of stress on people and it can lead to so many different problems”18 y/o girl
“I feel like I am too skinny and bony… the people on TV or on social media are skinny but not too skinny. They’re perfectly in the middle”18 y/o girl
What You Need To Know
The National Eating Disorders Association defines body image as “how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind”. Children at the age of six have reported feeling shame about their weight. At this age, children should be learning how to ride a bike, not worrying about how much they will weigh in 20 years. The pressure to have the “perfect” body has gotten worse over the past decade as social media has taken over our lives. Both men and women feel unnecessary stress to look like what is displayed on their screens and it is creating an unhealthy norm for our society. A negative body image is often accompanied by shame, anxiety, self-consciousness, depression, isolation, and eating disorders. Developing a healthy body image is an important part of wellbeing and mental health. It is important that people recognize that so many people are insecure about their bodies, but they don’t express how they are feeling because they don’t think it is an important issue. I am hoping that people see this is a problem that impacts both boys and girls of all ages. Body insecurity doesn’t look the same in everyone, but it takes a toll on mental wellbeing and overall happiness.
“I started to feel insecure about my body at six years old”17 y/o girl
“I have dieted off and on since I was around 12, and I struggled with binge eating and bulimia for a time”18 y/o girl
Girls 6-18 Talk About Body Image
“In elementary school, some people would call me chopstick or noddle”18 y/o girl
“Simple things like my friends saying, ‘I need to workout extra hard to burn this off’ or ‘I was so bad today, I ate three cookies’ can be unintentionally triggering for me”18 y/o boy
Why Body Image has Become a Problem for Boys
“We usually only see male models with toned and muscular bodies. This makes me feel like I am unattractive if I am not as fit and strong as them”17 y/o boy
How Can You Help?
It is not only important to let others know they are perfect, but you need to remind yourself that you are perfect, as well. Everybody is built differently and that is what makes us unique. So right now, I want you to…
- Make a list of the top ten things that you like best about yourself
- Send a message to five people letting them know that you wouldn’t change a thing about their appearance
- Write a positive quote on a sticky note and put it on your mirror. Read it every time you look in the mirror to remind yourself that the negative thoughts can easily be overpowered with positive ones
In my high school, Kent Denver, I am hoping that by spreading positivity, teenagers in all grades will improve their mental health and have a better high school experience and I am hoping you guys will spread the positivity to your schools, as well. I came up with this response because it is something that anyone reading this page can do and even though they are small tasks, they can make a huge impact on people. Everyone deserves to have some positivity in their lives.
Leave a comment below about your experiences with body insecurity! If you have any suggestions or questions, feel free to use the comment section below to reach out. I would love to hear your stories and learn how brave and beautiful/handsome all of you are:)