It’s officially spring, which means warmer days are just around the corner. As beautiful as spring is, for many people it also comes with invisible baggage. Tank tops and crop tops are back in fashion, along with shorts and 6-pack abs that if we’re being honest with ourselves are completely unrealistic.
Spring is here. Which means everyone will be scrambling for their “summer body”. Negative thoughts about your body are likely to surface stronger than ever, and for some people, these thoughts might develop into Body Dysmorphia Disorder (BDD).
What is Body Dysmorphia Disorder?
BDD is a mental illness that leaves you obsessing over a body feature that you deem a defect or flaw. It tells you the lie that your body is wrong, disgusting, or flawed. It can harvest self-hatred that makes it hard to even get out of bed. If you think you struggle with Body Dysmorphia, look for these key symptoms:
- Believing you or part of your body is defective and wrong.
- Feeling consumed by the perceived defect.
- Avoiding social interactions because of it.
- Attempting to rid yourself of the flaw, even going to great lengths to do so.
- Believing others are always noticing or mocking the flaw.
BDD can be debilitating, and as spring is right around the corner you might notice an influx of new, negative thoughts directed towards you and your body.
Body dysmorphia exists on a spectrum- some people find it debilitating and others experience it but are still able to function. Regardless on your experience with negative body thoughts, you deserve freedom. Your body is yours, and that alone makes it perfect.
Coping Skills to Cultivate Self-Love and Resiliance
Professional therapy and medication management is always an option for those struggling with Body Dysmorphia disorder. Rivia Mind has specialized therapists ready to diagnose, provide talk therapy, and help support your medication management. Click here to get scheduled with one of our specialists today.
Regardless if you choose to pursue a therapeutic approach or not, it’s always a good idea to have some coping skills in your tool belt. We recommend these 6 easy coping skills to fight back against BDD.
- Find fun ways to eat healthy food. Body dysmorphia can make eating challenging and can often lead to an eating disorder. Keeping a healthy relationship with food is important, and an easy way to do that is to have fun while preparing and eating meals! Have friends over to make a group meal or make a big deal out of a meal you cook for yourself.
- Meet basic needs. Sleep, water, food, sunshine. If you find negative body-related thoughts creep in, do a mental check with those four things. If you haven’t gotten enough of them in the last 24 hours, that could be feeding into BDD.
- Accept what you’re feeling but don’t claim it. Maybe today you feel disgusting or feel like you have a glaring physical flaw. But that’s not who you are. Thoughts last for a moment, but you and everything you are last a lifetime. It’s okay to feel and think these negative thoughts about your body but remember that they are not part of your identity, only something you are fighting at the moment.
- Plan fun activities, and don’t force yourself to go to things you don’t like. Don’t want to go to the community pool with your friends? You don’t have to! Choose activities that make you feel comfortable and work up to those more difficult activities that are more likely to trigger BDD.
- Write a list of the people in your life who build you up and those who tear you down. Make a plan to spend more time with the people on the first list.
- Make numberless goals. We get it- it’s spring and everyone is striving for a summer goal. It can be tempting to set a goal based on weight loss, fitness gain, or clothes size. But these goals are unreliable and disheartening. Instead, set goals like “go for a walk once a day”, or “eat one healthy meal a day” that focus on cultivating a healthy life that you are excited to get up to!
As always, professional help is always within reach. Rivia has specialist therapists ready to walk with you through your BDD. Click here to look through our specialists and find one that matches you. Or click here for a free 15-minute consultation.