Body Shaming: How It Affects One’s Mental Health

It is said that beauty is what the eyes see but can people judge someone based on their appearance?

Sushmita Sharma
Written by: Sushmita SharmaUpdated at: Jan 08, 2023 17:30 IST
Body Shaming: How It Affects One’s Mental Health

Most of us look in the mirror and feel dissatisfied with how we look. We criticise our bodies and wish that if we looked a certain way, it would bring more confidence in us. People call you ugly if you are dark-skinned or fat or a skeleton if you are skinny. You are often a source of a joke among your peers without having them realise how much it hurts you. You aren’t tall enough if you are below five feet and are often questioned, “Are you still in school?” Yes, body shaming is a serious issue which needs to be addressed. Even though people say that all bodies are beautiful, when it comes to practising what is preached, there’s more than that. Read this article to learn how body shaming affects your mental health and how you should deal with it.

How Body Shaming Affects Your Mental Health

Body shaming can have short-term and long-term effects on your mental status. When someone is bullied in front of people, they start isolating themselves and avoid social interaction. It may lead to eating disorders and mental health problems like anxiety, self-esteem issues, psychological distress and depression. People who face body shaming feel that they are not socially accepted. It increases the chances of self-harm or suicide. 

Effects Of Body Shaming

Eating Disorder

Body shaming can cause eating disorders like binge eating, bulimia, and anorexia. People who have been fat-shamed restrict themselves from eating more. It can lead to nutrient deficiency in the body and comments like, “You look better after losing weight” can trigger it even more.

Also Read: Eating Disorders And How To Address Them Effectively

Body Dysmorphic Disorder 

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a condition in which you become fixated on a perceived flaw in your appearance and engage in recurrent avoidance behaviours.

Anxiety & Depression

People who have been body shamed are often anxious and constantly worry if people would like them. It can further lead to depression.

Things You Should Do

Love yourself as you love others. We accept and love people with their imperfections; in fact, what they see as an imperfection may not be an imperfection for us at all. Similarly, embrace yourself and let no one make you doubt yourself. Do not set the same beauty standards that society has set for you.

If you find someone body shaming, make them aware it is wrong and how it can affect their mental health. Accept the people as they are and do not encourage body shaming.

Don’t isolate yourself from others; instead, surround yourself with people who inspire you and boost your self-esteem. Isolating yourself can lead to anxiety issues and may cause depression.

Body shaming can make you stressed, so you need to adopt healthy practices like meditation, exercise, and breathing exercises to help you get relief.

Don’t treat food as your enemy. People start skipping meals, or those who are skinny eat more involuntarily. Give your body the food it needs and engage in mindful eating.

Make healthy eating and exercise a lifestyle choice, not a way to achieve a particular body type or weight goal.

Also Read: Spate Of Suicides: Is Compromised Mental Health Triggering People To Take Such A Step?

People’s Opinions On Body Shaming

We talked to a few people who have faced body shaming. Let us know what they have to say.

Varun Verma, who has been facing body shaming issues since childhood, said that body shaming makes you feel you are a baggage and not accepted by society. He said, “You are excluded from activities that have no link with your body. I used to feel conscious even while asking for help, as people have preconceived notions. This made me think about my body all the time, which hampered my day-to-day activities too.”

Ishaan Arora, who was 40 kg at school, has transformed his body but is now more insecure than before. He never misses the gym and is now more concerned with rebranding himself.

Takeaway

Let no one decide who you are, and unleash the barriers you have set for yourself. No one is perfect, and even models and actors are conscious of their appearance. Each of you is amazing and the journey starts with loving yourself first. Your mental health plays a significant role in your life, and taking care of it is equally important. Don’t let anybody shame people, and stand up for what is right.

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