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Psychological Stress and Modern Body Image Standards 

Unrealistic filtered photos on social media, beauty industry advertising, movies, and cosmetic procedures that drastically alter a person’s looks influence modern body image standards. The beauty business in the U.S. generates an annual profit of 90 billion dollars. Celebrities and influencers report spending astronomical amounts on these products and services that most people can’t afford, making living up to modern beauty standards impossible for the average American.

Today, around a third of the population has a negative body image. There is an unhealthy obsession regarding physical appearance, which can impact a person’s self-esteem and lead to depression, eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating, mood disorders, shame, anxiety, isolation, and even suicide. 

In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health research found that suicide was the second leading cause of death for teens and young adults. Body shaming is defined as hurtful, judgmental remarks regarding physical appearances made by friends, family members or others including negative self-talk. 

Teens are vulnerable to body shaming in school and social settings, and cyber-bullying via social media. Limiting your children’s time on social media is essential, as is building their confidence and encouraging their individuality. You might not know if your child is being victimized or experiencing suicide ideation, so to be safe, post the 988 Suicide lifeline number in a prominent location. 

Body Dysmorphic Disorder symptoms include an intense preoccupation with appearance and an exaggerated focus on perceived physical flaws. Someone with this disorder may overuse cosmetic procedures. Pressure to conform to modern body image standards can trigger the disorder. People experiencing Body Dysmorphic Disorder are four times more likely than the general population to engage in suicide ideation and six percent more likely to attempt suicide. Muscle Dysmorphia, or preoccupation with body building, affects males more than females. Other complications of the disorder are low self-esteem, social isolation, anorexia nervosa, and obsessive-compulsive, depression, and anxiety disorders. Based on U.S. studies, BDD is more common than other psychiatric disorders, and between five to ten million people suffer from it. 

Fixation on your shape and features is often prompted by a desire to find a partner. Appealing looks and a sculpted body might instigate attraction, but other qualities make a relationship last. According to, friendship sustains a partnership, as does shared interests and values, personality, mutual respect, communication, healthy conflict resolution, emotional intelligence, kindness, and love. 

Beauty standards change. In the Victorian Era, obvious makeup was for actors on the stage, and a natural look was popular. For centuries, carrying extra weight was considered attractive and a sign of prosperity, and thinness was a sign of poverty or weakness. 

Due to the impact of a negative self-image, such as depression, anxiety, social isolation, and suicide, efforts to reverse the trend toward unrealistic ideals of beauty are being made. Education and empowerment can help change perceptions and reduce the pressure to succumb to narrow beauty standards. In time, a new ideal will be born that adopts a broader view of what qualities are attractive.

As a massage therapist, I noticed that everyone has unique bodily quirks, whether a deformity, a scar, a birthmark, or something else; everybody has imperfections. Likewise, everyone has special features, such as large eyes, dainty ears, soft skin, or cute freckles. So, embrace your uniqueness and treat yourself with kindness. Refuse to use negative self-talk. View your body as your friend; it works 24/7 to keep you going. Appreciate the food that fuels you. Engage in activities that make you feel good about yourself. Walk, run, dance, practice yoga. Express yourself creatively through dress, hair styling, and accessorizing to accentuate your positives. Have fun with it and flaunt your flair. Revel in the miracle that is you and your body.

Alternative health therapies such as meditation, breathwork, bodywork, reiki, and sound healing help to improve self-esteem and elevate consciousness as people learn they are far more than their physical appearance. As you acknowledge your true essence, you radiate beauty and a heightened frequency that attracts. 

Find the support you need, and contact Best Life-ing today to help you improve your self-esteem, move past limiting beliefs, and boost your confidence through their services, including massage, sound healing, regression hypnosis, and more. Book a free consultation or sign up online for one of their wellness retreats, events, or holistic healing experiences, and move into your best life. 


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