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Importance of Body Image and Self Esteem

Importance of Body Image and Self Esteem
By Kya Grace

There is a close link between body image – the way you feel
about your physical appearance – and self esteem – how much you
value yourself. According to research, the fitter you are, the
better is your body image and resultantly, higher is your self
esteem. This link and correlation is more pronounced in the case
of people in their early teens, since at that age you are more
concerned and perturbed about the way others see you.

It is important to note that self esteem is not something that
is permanent and cannot be changed. Studies have shown that the
level of self esteem in people changes depending on the age
group that a person belongs to and also the external factors –
media images, criticizing peer or colleagues – that one is
exposed to. Since self-esteem is not set in stone, it can be
altered, resulting in a marked difference in one’s personal as
well as professional life. One of the most potent ways of
building greater self-esteem is to feel confident about the way
you look and feel about your physical appearance – your body

Since body image is your perception about your physical
appearance, it can be positive or negative. A positive body
image brings with it self-confidence and self-worth, thus having
positive ramifications for your self-esteem. A positive body
image implies that you are comfortable with yourself. Having
such a healthy attitude helps you become more outgoing,
developing friendships and being able to challenge yourself
mentally as well as physically. On the other hand, if you have a
negative body image, it translates into feelings of anxiety and
emotional distress, which has a detrimental effect on your
self-esteem. Body image is manifested through one’s body
language. The way people react to your body language and image,
reinforces your self-esteem – positively or negatively.

It has been argued that in the case of inherently good-looking
people, a positive body image is a given. However, this may not
be the case, since a body image is one’s perception and that may
deviate from reality. Thus, body image is a matter of
consideration for all, even if we may not be consciously
thinking about it.

There are certain ways in which you can influence your body
image. Regular exercise and a good diet helps raise the energy
levels in the body, resulting in stronger bones and a glowing
skin, thus shaping a positive body image. Research has shown
that psychological health is closely tied to physiological well
being. During exercise and regular workouts, the body releases
endorphins and other associated chemicals, which are believed to
be “mood-lifters”. Moreover, physical activity helps in slowing
down the aging process, making you look as well as feel younger
by many years.

Thus, regular exercise plays a major role in lowering stress
levels and anxiety. This will result in a more confident
demeanor, a sense of true happiness, piece of mind and
satisfaction. Fitness and exercise represent the path leading to
a positive body image, thus helping you arrive at the
destination of high self esteem.

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