Disclaimer: Everything I have mentioned here is based on what I have studied and my personal experience. This post is meant to bring more awareness to how stress affects our body image and possibly encourage everyone to seek more positive ways how to deal with it.
Psychology is something I have always found very interesting - especially the psychological aspect of our behavior, and how it affects our health, including behavior towards our body image.
So this year I took a part in a course about the psychology behind health and behavior. Shout out to Edx platform. I gained some interesting knowledge I want to share with you today and I hope this will be interesting for you too.
I can’t promise you that the information mentioned in this blog post is something you haven’t already heard about before, because there are many articles that have written about this. But, what I hope to do is to bring more awareness about this topic and encourage everyone to focus on minimizing stress as much as possible by seeking more relaxing ways how to deal with it.
What happens to our bodies when we encounter stressful situations?
So, it is a well-known fact that stress is our physiological response to situations that we perceive to be overwhelming and threatening. Same with the fact that everyone has different stress triggers. Speaking of body image, the possibilities of feeling stress because of it are very high... the amount of pressure we can get is sometimes unbelievable.
When stress is extreme or chronic it can often even contribute to the development of certain psychological disorders, involving post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, and other serious psychiatric conditions.
In this graph, you can see the three stages of Selye’s general adaptation syndrome, that describes the physiological changes our bodies go through when we are under stress. The graph shows that prolonged stress can ultimately result in exhaustion.
Also, there are many types of research that have found that stress is one of the leading triggers of adapting poor body image in teens.
According to the research from The Australian National University, which was focused on the causes of dysfunctional body image and low self-esteem in young people - poor body image is one of the risk factors for mental health problems.
So, there is no question about if stress does affect how we act towards our body image, not even mentioning how it affects other areas of our life.
The bigger question is - How can you deal with it in a way that can potentially benefit your well-being in the long run?
If this is your first time on my blog - Hi, my name is Sedija and I’m a huge positivity and positive body image enthusiast. So, you probably have an idea what's coming next as a number one way how to reduce stress.
I can’t tell if you guessed it or not. But it’s positive mindset. I cannot tell you enough the benefits of it, the list could go on and on.
As a former victim of bullying and body-shaming, having a positive way of thinking helped me the most when it came to getting through such experiences.
It's very important to first realize where does the stress comes from in the first place. As an example you can use this worksheet by writing down everything that makes you feel stressed.
Another important thing, after you have wrote down everything that triggers you, start to recognize it's effect on your health and body image.
How do you react towards stressful situations?
How do you feel when being under stress - angry, sad, tired?
What happens after you have encountered stressful situation - are you feeling unmotivated, less confident, etc.?
A great way how to reflect on everything I have mentioned above is to start to write journal.
Take 5 minutes out of your day to really reflect on the situations you have encountered, your emotions and health.
For the inspiration, I found an article 20 Great Mental Health Bullet Journal Pages with many great ideas how to journal, so I recommend you to check them out.
I have faith that everyone have the power to get through everything, but at the same time in many occasions having someone to talk to can be a huge factor towards feeling better. If you don't have anyone to talk to I really encourage you to seek professional help. Please, don't ever feel ashamed to do that, that doesn't mean that you are weak, instead that means that you are serious about getting your power back + it is interesting to hear professional's perspective and suggestions in your particular situation.
I hope this post was useful to you and if I successfully encouraged you to be more aware of the stress and how it can effect your body image and health then my mission is complete.
I wish you an amazing day! Sending you positive vibes and till the next time! 💛