1 in 3 people overwhelmed with stress related to body image

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Every year, NHS Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) supports and promotes Mental Health Awareness Week – 13th-19th May – and this year is no exception. The focus of the 2019 awareness week is Body Image – how we think and feel about our bodies.

The Mental Health Foundation will this week be publishing new research considering some of the reasons why our body image can impact the way we feel, campaigning for change and publishing practical tools.

Dr Salma Reehana, from NHS Wolverhampton CCG, said: “Mental Health affects us all, in many different ways. Body image is a serious issue and research from last year has shown that 30% of adults felt so stressed by body image and appearance that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. That’s 1 in 3 people.

“As GPs, we encourage anyone struggling with their mental health to come and speak to us and take the first steps towards getting the help and treatment they need.”

There are things you can do to improve the way you think about your body such as:

  • Don’t put yourself down. Try to break the habit of putting yourself down and instead tell yourself the things that you do like about your body until it becomes a new habit.
  • Find things you like about your body and appearance. Focus on things you like - maybe your hair, face, or hands. What about your arms, shoulders, or legs? Your eyes or your smile?
  • Focus on what your body can DO. Your body is capable of many things – playing sports, walking, dancing, swimming. Your body is there for you when you stretch, reach, climb, or jump for joy. When you carry things, build things, or give someone a hug. Be thankful.
  • Eat healthy foods. Learn what foods are good for you, and how much is the right amount. Eating well will help you feel well and give you the energy you need.
  • Keep active. Your body needs to move to be strong, fit, and healthy. Pick activities you enjoy – walking, cycling, yoga, dancing, for example.
  • Speak to your GP if you feel overwhelmed by negative feelings towards your body and are finding it difficult to cope.

If you or someone you know needs urgent help, there are phone numbers and advice available at https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/getting-help