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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 image.
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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