If I told you that changing your image could help you feel less stressed, would you believe me? A study by the Australian National University found that stress was strongly related to dysfunctional body image in young women, with appearance being the third greatest cause of stress for women overall (after work and money). If you’re not happy with your image, then it follows that this can be a stressor in your life. We look at 5 ways that changing your image can reduce stress.
1. Greater self-esteem
If you were asked to rate yourself out of ten, what would the number be? Our self-esteem is our own perception of self-worth, and when we have an idea in our head of how a confident, successful person looks and this doesn’t match our own perception of how we look, it can really batter our self-esteem. Before long, you’re avoiding social events because you’re just not happy with your appearance and feeling huge stress. Working on your image enables you to align your actual image with your perceived image so you feel confident, assured and positive.
2. Less social media pressure
Social media has infiltrated almost every area of our lives, and how we feel about how we are represented online can have a huge effect on our stress levels. One of the factors in self-esteem is feedback or appraisal from others and in the 21st century, this often comes in the form of ‘likes’ or comments online. But if you’re not happy with your image, this is another aspect of life that you can withdraw from. Creating an image that works for all areas of your life, even digitally, opens you up to new experiences.
3. No comparing
Research has shown that we look at others, compare ourselves to them and use this information to determine our own attractiveness. So, after looking at pictures of gorgeous models in magazines, or seeing a group of friends who inherited the skinny gene in their skinny jeans, you can automatically view yourself more negatively. One of the ways that image coaching can help you is to avoid this need to compare yourself to others which can really boost not only your self-esteem but alleviate your stress levels.
4. Avoiding the wardrobe dilemma
That moment of standing before a wardrobe bursting at the seams with clothes, but knowing there isn’t a thing in there that you want to wear. The daily dilemma of what to wear can be a huge source of stress because we know that we are constantly judged by others based upon not only what we say and do, but what we wear too. And if you have a negative body image, you can avoid buying clothes at all, restrict yourself to only buying online, or end up buying far too much to compensate. An image consultation is about looking at what you have already, skilfully editing your wardrobe, and finding new pieces that will work for your life, day in and day out.
5. A zest for life
One of the times that we most worry about our image is when those big life events rear their head, getting married or being the mother of the bride, a big promotion at work or heading off to university for the first time. At these life junctions we tend to evaluate ourselves even more, and when we’re not happy with what we see, stress levels can soar. A life change can be a brilliant time to think about your image, and working with a professional can help you to approach these life changes with zest and vigour.
Stephanie Varda Life Coaching
Stephanie Varda is a life coach and stress expert working with clients to identify the behaviours, feelings and symptoms related to stress and provide stress management techniques that will enable life to be lived with happiness and confidence. Stephanie also offers an image consultancy, interrupting negative reoccurring patterns and giving confidence to enjoy life to its fullest.