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How Can Mental Health be Improved through Body Confidence for Teenagers in Denver?

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

Introduction Video

“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…

  1. Make a list of the top ten things that you like best about yourself
  2. Send a message to five people letting them know that you wouldn’t change a thing about their appearance
  3. 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.

It is important to recognize that many people have these insecurities, but how you look is not the most important factor in who you are as a person

17 y/o girl

Works Cited

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:)

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COMMENTS: 4
  1. April 25, 2020 by Claire

    Olivia, this is such an important topic, and I’m really glad that you made this presentation. I’ve struggled with body insecurity since I started middle school, and I tend to think of myself in the extremes. Either I look at myself and feel super body positive and think that I wouldn’t change a thing about myself, or I look at myself and only see flaws and beat myself up about things I can’t control. There were times when I wished I had an eating disorder so that I could lose weight. I’m still working on my body image, but I wrote down ten things that I like about myself, and it made me look at myself in a much more positive light! Also, it’s so great that you talked about body insecurity for boys as well as girls because I think that it is typically discussed even less than that of girls.

  2. April 26, 2020 by George

    Olivia, I’m really glad that you chose this topic, it is extremely important and many people suffer because of it. I personally have been struggling with this issue for as long as I can remember. It led me to exercise excessively and it has become a bit of an unhealthy obsession. While I do think exercise is good for me, and I’ve never taken steroids, I have skipped many many meals because of my body. I think male body insecurity is an issue that goes undiscussed, so I think its great that you addressed it! A lot of people wrongly base their entire self worth on their image, and its getting to be a very big problem. I think you’re message of spreading positivity is great! I’ve been trying to spread a lot more positivity to my friends.

  3. April 26, 2020 by Mais

    Hey Olivia, I think that this topic is really important to consider and spread awareness about. Personally, I do feel insecure about how I look like and I also now a lot of people who struggle with the same problems. Raising awareness about this issue is so important because I think that most people don’t realize the severity of this problem. Great job!

  4. April 27, 2020 by Cecelia

    Hey Olivia,
    I did my project on a similar topic with the focus on eating disorders, specifically the genetics associated with them. I think that this is such an important topic because so many people are insecure about their bodies. Social media makes it so easy for people to compare themselves to others. It is often forgotten that people do not actually look like what they do on social media due to the accessibility of editing. I think that as more people hear that a lot of people are not comfortable in their bodies it can help those people feel not alone. I hope it even makes them accept their body more because as a society we are so hard on ourselves that we are not even judging other people. I think we constantly feel like eyes are on us, but the reality is that less people care about what we are doing and what we look like than we actually feel like.

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