75% of women report continually worrying about their weight during a typical day, while just under half of men do the same. Furthermore, a study by Dove found that women in Britain have some of the lowest self-esteem in the world, with 80% of women not being happy with the way they look. Body image isn’t just your physical features; it encompasses how you see yourself and how you think others see you. Poor body image can have incredibly detrimental effects; it can lead to a poor diet which results in weight gain or eating disorders. Poor body image can also make some people opt out of social situations and activities as well as causing health issues and depression. What’s more, new research has shown that body image plays a vital role in relationships too. Your body is part of who you are and makes up a crucial element of your identity. If you are not happy with your body, you are not happy with yourself.
The Vicious Body-Relationship Cycle
You may think having a few body hang-ups is normal and doesn’t affect your life as a whole or your relationships. However, these small, negative self-perceptions can quickly manifest and take hold, especially in your relationships.
The negative body-relationship cycle;
You feel unhappy with your body.
The discomfort is apparent in your sex life. Your sex life may decline as a result, or you may feel uncomfortable during intimacy which your partner will see or sense.
Your partner may begin to worry that there is a problem with the relationship as a whole, causing problems for both of you.
You then may attribute your relationship issues to the way that you look, and the cycle begins again.
New research from Utrecht University found that many couples’ therapy attendees are unhappy with their physical appearance. The results find that body image is “consistently and meaningfully related to sexual satisfaction in both women and men.”
The researchers believe this is as a result of objectification theory. Objectification theory focuses on the fact that due to the focus on body image in the media, people now view themselves as objects. People then evaluate themselves as an object based on how they look. As a result, this self-conscious awareness of how they look during sex is distracting which affects the ability to feel pleasure and sexual satisfaction.
This doesn’t just apply to sex. If you are constantly distracted by how you look, you will never be able to fully experiences the sensations of physical contact with your partner. Consequently, you’ll begin to fear rejection because you believe you’ll look unattractive to your partner. You may then make up excuses not to have sex or to avoid physical contact.
Positive body image is essential for emotional and physical intimacy with your partner. However, what should you do if you don’t feel happy with your body image?
How To Conquer Negative Body Image
Your body is amazing and deserves credit for what it does. From getting through a gym session, enabling you to carry children or simply just being able to get up each day, your breath is proof that your body is working hard for you. Therefore, spend some time each day by reflecting on what your body can do, rather than what it’s not able to do.
Listen To What Your Body Needs
Your body needs love, nurture and nourishment. Release the happy chemicals (endorphins) in your body by exercising, eating well and healthily and enjoying wellness activities. Meditation and breathing techniques can work wonders.
While high fat and high sugar foods may also give you the quick-fix happiness rush, they will ultimately make you feel worse with guilt. Instead, focus on what your body needs.
Hypnosis can be a very powerful tool for targeting the root cause of low self-esteem. It can help prevent those negative, overly critical thoughts from telling us how to feel about ourselves and empower us to rid ourselves of these negative thinking patterns.
Why it is important to tackle low confidence and self-esteem
Why you need to challenge underlying negative beliefs about yourself
How to become more assertive and stand up for your own needs
Why goals and challenges can help you overcome low self-esteem
Hypnotherapy for self-esteem helps challenge negative thought processes and limiting beliefs and can eliminate self-doubt allowing you to generate a more positive future, improving self-image and increasing determination.
We use CTB with the integration of hypnotherapy, which is more effective than using CBT alone. The self-awareness that CBT offers renders it a highly successful way to modify behaviour, embed and consolidate new thinking, aid deep relaxation.