Your General Happiness is a Big Factor in How You Feel about Your Body

April 1, 2011

Your General Happiness is a Big Factor in How You Feel about Your Body
Your General Happiness is a Big Factor in How You Feel about Your Body

“My thighs are all puckered, I hate my double chin, look at my muffin top, my breasts are down to my waist.” These typical body-hating remarks have become polite chatter when women get together. Men bond over football; women bond with self deprecation.

Little girls listen to their moms. In a study of three to six-year-old girls, nearly half were already worried about being fat and roughly a third said they wanted to change something about their body.

In a March 2011 survey, Glamour Magazine polled more than 300 women of all sizes and found that on average, women have 13 negative body thoughts daily – nearly one for every waking hour. A disturbing number of women confess having 35, 50 or even 100 hateful thoughts about their own shapes daily.

The insane factor is that women see these negative thoughts and statements as the road to self improvement. “If you get together with friends and put yourself down, this is the first step towards positive change.” Well, get a grip ladies; it is not.

According to Kearney Cooke, Ph.D., a Cincinnati psychologist, negative thoughts are dangerous. “Neuroscience has shown that whatever you focus on shapes your brain. If you’re constantly thinking negative thoughts about your body, that neural pathway becomes stronger and those thoughts become habitual.” A concert pianist, for example, has stronger neural pathways that support musicality and dexterity than someone who has not spent her life practicing.

Here is the most valuable information revealed by the Glamour study: Respondents who were unsatisfied with their career or relationship reported more negative body thoughts than those who were content in those areas. Moreover, feeling uncomfortable emotions of any sort, such as stress, loneliness or boredom made women start berating their looks.

Whether you’re unhappy in general is a much larger factor in how you feel about your body than what your body actually looks like. Thin and average weight women were just as likely to insult themselves as overweight ones. “It’s all about your body and nothing about your body.”

Glamour has good suggestions for countering negative thoughts. Do the things that make you feel good about your body. Ask yourself, “Are negative thoughts a distraction from being upset with someone or something else?” Exercise; overcoming physical challenges will boost your body image. Say “Stop” when your mind goes all negative. Don’t worry about what to eat; enjoy your food and put your fork down before you get too full. Hold your head higher and walk a little taller. That attitude is magnetic.

If your body image issues motivate you to seek out plastic surgery, make sure the surgeon is board-certified. A board-certified plastic surgeon will give you reliable feedback about the next step to take. 

The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to

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The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; Active Members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. International Active Members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.


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