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Body Image - photo courtesy of Charlotte Astrid

Body Image and Hang-Ups

Body image worries? You’re not alone

It’s a common misconception that all London students are super-confident extroverts breezing through the best time of their lives with undiminished verve and self-belief. In reality, there’s no worse time for self confidence issues and problems with distorted body image than your late teens and early twenties, so if you’re one of the many students who harbours hang-ups about your body, you could probably benefit from a little Scape student advice…

Avoid media

If you’re constantly worried about how you look or what other people think of you, it’s not because of vanity. The modern media has built an unachievable idea of physical perfection that we all compare ourselves to. Every magazine and TV show exhibits pampered, airbrushed celebrities while any hint of cellulite, body fat or physical imperfection is circled to be scrutinised and jeered at by the masses. Research shows that the majority of people feel worse about their body image after being exposed to unrealistic media representations of beauty, so if you’re feeling down about yourself already, it’s best to avoid them outright. Instead, go for a walk and look at the real people on the street. You’ll probably find your body isn’t so different to the rest of the world.

Talk about your hang-ups

Self-confidence and self-perception are very rarely based on reality, so the vast majority of people, even those who are considered ‘conventionally beautiful’, will have things about their bodies that they don’t like. Talk about your body image problems with friends who you know and trust. You’ll be able to get out of your head and realise that everyone has hang-ups – no-one is looking at you and judging you as harshly as you judge yourself. In the cold light of day, your body image woes will seem like little more than a waste of time and energy.

Take time to treat yourself

Everyone needs the opportunity to feel great every once in a while, and sometimes all you need to kick-start your self-confidence is just one occasion where you really feel as though you look your best. If you’ve got a big night out coming up, treat yourself to a new haircut, a luxury trip to the barber’s or spend some extra time on your makeup. Get dressed up in your best clothes and squirt on a bit of perfume or aftershave. A good pampering can really help get your confidence back on its feet, and when you start turning heads while you’re out and about you’ll certainly begin to feel better about yourself!

Accentuate the positives

Everybody has elements of their bodies or overall appearance that they don’t like, but the difference between those with low self-confidence and those with high self-confidence is how they view those physical imperfections. If you spend all your time only seeing the negative you’re never going to feel happy about yourself, but if you concentrate on the aspects that make you beautiful, those minor flaws will begin to seem all the more insignificant. Remember that nobody’s perfect, but no-one’s imperfect, either.

If you’re really struggling with self-confidence or body image issues while at university, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your University Student Counselling service for more advice. Contact details for most can be found on this website, and there are quick links to Queen Mary’s, LSE’s and City University’s student advice sections on their websites too. Our Student Support Teams will also be able to help, just come down to reception and ask or email us.


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