Tips to improve body image
There are some actions we can take to improve how we feel about our bodies and help us to protect, promote and maintain a positive body image throughout our lives.
It’s especially important to do this if you’re feeling any pressure to make drastic decisions – for instance, having cosmetic surgery, starting extreme dieting or trying drugs and supplements – or if you are having thoughts of harming yourself. We have included a list of organisations you can contact directly for confidential support at the bottom of this page.
Be aware of how you feel when using them and, if you find them stressful in relation to your body image, consider uninstalling them.
Consider muting or unfollowing accounts or hashtags that cause you to feel negatively about your body or appearance or encourage you to compare yourself unfavourably to others. Be considerate of the impact of your own posts on other people.
This can start the process of investigation and action. Information on how to complain is set out here.
You can: praise children for qualities unrelated to physical appearance; avoid criticising your own or other people’s appearance; and avoid placing unrealistic expectations on how people look. In addition, you can support children to express their emotions and communicate their feelings about their bodies.
Consistently saying things that reinforce youth and being slim as the essence of beauty (for instance: “I feel fat today”, “They don’t have the body to wear that”, “You look great, did you lose weight?”, “They look so old” or “It highlights my wrinkles”) may feel harmless in the moment, but can make us feel worse about our bodies in the long run.
A healthy amount of exercise every week can make us feel better about our bodies, encourage good mood and decrease stress. But don’t overdo it. The best workout programmes are the ones you actually enjoy.
Samaritans: If you need someone to talk to then Samaritans are available on 116 123 (UK) for free, 24/7. They are there to talk to, listen and they won't judge or tell you what to do.
Mind: If you are looking for professional support then Mind can help you with their Infoline. They can find information for you on what support is available in your local area. You can call them on 0300 123 3393 (UK), they are available Mon - Fri 9am - 6pm.
Beat: If you want to speak to a trained eating disorder helpline support worker then you can call Beat's helpline on 0808 801 0711 (UK) they are open 365 days of the year 12pm - 6pm Mon - Fri and 4pm - 8pm weekends and bank holidays.
CALM: If you want emotional support as a man or for a man in your life then you can call CALM's helpline on 0800 58 58 58. It is for men in the UK who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. They're open 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year.
Maytree: If you are feeling suicidal or are having suicidal thoughts you can contact Maytree. Maytree have a house available for people at moments when they're feeling suicidal. They offer a free 4 night, 5 day stay for adults, with the opportunity to be heard in complete confidence, in a caring, safe environment. You can contact them on 0207 263 7070.
Urgent professional help: If you are concerned that you are developing a mental health problem you should seek the advice and support of your GP as a matter of priority. If you are in distress and need immediate help and are unable to see a GP, you should visit your local A&E.