Struggling with body image? You’re not alone.


August 3, 2021

Dr. Stephen Etkind, Ed.D., HSP

About 1 in 50 Americans suffer from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), which makes people overly critical of some element of their appearance, such as their skin, hair, face, teeth, or some other aspect of their body. They see a defect where there is none, and they compulsively spend a lot of time — and sometimes money — on “fixing” it. 

But people who don’t suffer from BDD often struggle with their physical appearance, too.  If you're struggling with body image, you are not alone. There are resources available to help you feel better. 


Healthy Body Image Tips 

From Zoom hacks to counseling, here are some tips to worry less about your appearance. 

  1. When on a video call, hide your image, or tape a piece of paper over it to replicate talking to someone in person, where you don't have your own face staring back at you! 
  2. When you look in the mirror each morning, compliment yourself.  
  3. Avoid looking in the mirror multiple times throughout the day or taking “selfies,” since we know that fixating on your appearance can lead to anxiety and self-criticism.  
  4. Notice your thoughts. When you find yourself focusing on your appearance, redirect your attention to something else. Here are some great tips on how to do so. 
  5. Limit social media. Fact: The more time you spend on social media, the more likely you are to feel worse about yourself and your body. 
  6. Eat a healthy diet, exercise, and get good sleep. Keep in mind that lifestyle changes shouldn’t be centered on your appearance, but on self-compassion (being kinder to yourself) and your overall health.  
  7. Think about what really matters. What kind of person are you? Write down your great qualities. What non-physical traits are you most proud of?  
  8. Plan meaningful, in-person experiences where you can connect with others — without your reflection staring back at you. Try a book club, brunch or long walk with a friend. 
  9. Talk to a professional. Speaking to someone about what you’re going through can make all the difference. A counselor can provide unbiased guidance, support and the tools you need to get your self-esteem back on track.   



Talk to a Counselor  

If your school or employer provides you with First Stop Health Virtual Counseling, you can talk to a counselor via phone or video at no cost to you. Here’s how it works (VIDEO). 

Request a Visit

quote from first stop health member about speaking with a counselor

Originally published Aug 3, 2021 2:32:31 PM, updated April 26, 2023.