Teen Breathe

Better body image

How to improve self-esteem and body image

1 Accept your amazing self and stop comparing your features to other people’s

This is you – unique, wonderful you – and your body, face and glow. In real life, very few people fit into the airbrushed, picture-perfect ideal in the media, so instead of worrying what’s wrong with you, focus on what’s right, such as how strong and healthy you are. This is your body and you should make the most of it.

2 Silence your inner critic

Whenever you become aware you’re thinking negative thoughts about yourself, say ‘stop’. Imagine what advice you’d give to a friend or young child who was putting themselves down and pay heed to these wise words. You wouldn’t suggest they
be unkind to themselves.

3 Compliment yourself

Each day, look in the mirror and focus on something you like. It could be your eye colour, your skin, your smile. Pay yourself a compliment instead of being harsh on yourself as this will boost your mood. You may fake positive comments to start with, but stick with it as eventually you’ll start noticing they come naturally.

4 Change what you can – accept what you can’t

If there is something you really dislike and can easily change – such as a hairstyle, make-up, skin cream for spots or exercising for health reasons – do it. But do remember that real people aren’t perfect. They’re perfectly imperfect, which is why most of the magazines you read and the celebrity websites you look at use photo-editing techniques to make the celebrities seem like something they’re not.

5 Remind yourself of what’s important – who you are

If you’re a good-hearted, kind person and you’re healthy and fit, that’s way more important than looks. Everyone has body issues at some point – it’s part of life – but clichéd as it sounds, it really is what’s inside that counts.