The dictionary defines body image as a person’s perception of their own physical appearance. Body image is formed from a variety of experiences and, while not exclusive to the female gender, it can be a problem for many women throughout their lives. Many things affect how a woman feels about her body -- from puberty to pregnancy to menopause and every media or personal influence in between.
Menopause may be one such influence. Body image may be affected by the physical, emotional, and social changes of approaching menopause. Menopause at an earlier age caused by surgery or chemotherapy can have an even greater effect on self-perception. Taking steps to improve health will transform and enhance every woman’s sense of well-being and may help create a more positive body image. Need a little motivation?
Try these simple suggestions to get started:
- Compliment yourself: Some women focus on their flaws. Instead, they should try focusing on their finer features. Write down a compliment or two and refer to it when you find yourself obsessing about those not-so-favorite traits.
- Feed your inner self (zero calories!): Engaging in enjoyable activities helps women feel good about themselves. Activities that are social or relaxing or spiritual can help eliminate the stress and anxiety that may keep women critical of their bodies.
- Exercise tends to make women feel better about their body whether they lose weight or not: A poor body image can lead to emotional distress, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and disordered eating. Learning to take care of and love your body is crucial to happiness and wellness.
Find more about menopause and body image at www.menopause.org/for-women
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