EATING DISORDERS: ANOREXIA AND BULIMIA / PSYCHOLOGICAL ROOTS – IMPROVING BODY IMAGE Being completely comfortable with one’s body is ideal but perhaps not fully possible in a society such as ours, in which people are brought up to have a narrow view of what constitutes beauty. Still, we can take steps to counter the negative messages around us and within. One thing we can work on is self-acceptance—looking in the mirror, for instance, and making positive affirmations about our appearance. Rather than saying to ourselves “You’re so fat,” we need to treat ourselves the way we would want to be treated by a very good friend.One method for achieving this is cognitive therapy. In studies using this technique, obese women learned to change their perceptions of themselves. Results suggest that a person’s level of self-satisfaction or dissatisfaction need not be dependent on her or his appearance.Such a program teaches people to desensitize themselves to the part of the body they are having difficulty with. In front of a mirror or in the imagination, they make positive statements about the body site to overshadow the irrational and anxiety-provoking thoughts that usually fill the mind. Another part of the treatment engages people in positive activities, such as working out at the gym or buying a new outfit. Activities are also chosen to show individuals that their fears are greatly exaggerated. A woman who is self-conscious about her shape, for example, may be asked to wear a form-fitting outfit in public so that she can see for herself that no one particularly notices. Such activities help to counter previous avoidance behaviors and, further, help the individual become less egocentric.*70\233\8*
Comments are closed.