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Sunday, 06 Jan 2013

Body Image: When you look in the mirror what do you see?

By Private Therapy Clinic

Frau mit Magersucht sieht sich dick im SpielgelBy Dr. Rebecca Spelman – Clinical Director of Private Therapy Clinic, Psychologist & Cognitive Behavioural Therapist

You look down at the slender figure in the magazine on your bedside table, and then look back to the mirror. Your cheeks no longer look fresh and full of life, but actually… actually they look a little plump. You look down again at the hour glass frame of her chest and hips that make your body seem quite… well… average. You look side on to the mirror and end up breathing in to pretend that you’re a size smaller.

In today’s media there is an emphasis on women having slim bodies, and men to have muscles in the arms and chest. It’s hard for people to escape the fact that they might not look quite as attractive as the models that are portrayed in T.V programs, advertising, books and in magazines.

Another problem with adverts is that they try to lure you in with quick fix options, such as diet commercials showing attractive women who have managed to overcome their problems, and models on gym commercials who have become more attractive through exercise. However the problem isn’t how we look, but how we perceive the way we look, of course there are health guidelines to adhere to, but once you’ve got to a fairly healthy body shape, if you look for imperfections you will find them.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is used in the NHS and by Psychologists and Psychotherapists in private practice such as myself (Dr. Becky Spelman) to help people deal with emotions by addressing behaviours and thoughts. From childhood to older age body esteem is a big factor in how we think about ourselves. Here are few ways in which you can help prevent negative thoughts about yourself.

Put appearance into prospective.

To help with the way you feel about yourself it best to put your appearance into prospective. Think about your loved ones, and why you love them? Then think how much appearance has to do with this?

Identify your negative thoughts.

One good way to do this is to keep a thought diary. When you’re feeling down and start feeling bad about how you look, write down exactly what it was that started these thoughts, and what these thoughts have led to.

Take notice if your body starts to tense up when you look in the mirror or if you get frustrated when focus on your perceived flaws. Start to be aware of what thoughts go with these emotional reactions.

Highlight your negative thoughts.

When you have identified your negative thoughts, start questioning their validity.

Are you filtering? People often become biased towards negative information when feeling down or self-defeated. Did your boss really only say negative things to you?

Are you catastrophising? Because one person didn’t find you attractive, are you really going to be alone for ever?

A trail of thought can go something like this – I’m no good at this – no wonder I’m alone- who would want someone with a waist like mine- not like I’m getting any younger- I’m going to be alone forever. These thoughts can happen so quickly that we don’t even realise that there is a place to interject, to help stop these quick fire associations. You need to spot them early, and this is what CBT helps you to do, it allows people to be their own therapist.

The more you self-reflective you are, the quicker you can master your own thoughts. It’s always important to remember that it is the difference in people’s minds and bodies that make the human race so powerful. If we all looked like Brad Pit and Angelina Jolie, we’d get bored of each other very quickly.

Want to improve your body image?

Do you feel like you need some help with improving your body image?

Call our team on 020 3882 0684 or 075 1111 6565 to arrange an appointment with an expert who will be able to help.

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