The Impact of Peer Pressure on Body Image: Nurturing Resilience in Youth By Chitrali Yumnam

Have you ever looked at someone's picture and wished you could change something about your body too?

Do you start looking for diet plans and exercise routines to get you that dream figure? If, you're starting to feel more self-conscious about your appearance, it probably is negative self-image.

Our society's youth frequently encounter such notions.

But, is it really necessary to be like them? Only if youngsters are encouraged to seek professional assistance can these questions be addressed.

Factors Contributing To A Distorted Body Image

‘Beauty’ & The Weight of Perception: 

Societal beauty ideals and social media trends often shape the way individuals think and feel about their bodies. Understanding how these platforms affect body image becomes increasingly important as we spend more time using social media apps.

Family & Friends:

Family and friend circle dynamics and their attitudes or comments can negatively our individual view towards body image and weight. We may become pre-occupied with looking a certain way and fulfilling those expectations.

Cultural and Ethnic Factors: 

Body dissatisfaction or feeling negatively about appearance is a common experience across different racial and ethnic groups. The culture you identify with can have a vast influence on your inner thoughts, feelings, and opinions. This in turn has the potential to significantly influence your body image perception. 

Besides this, a youth's self body image may also be influenced by their age, gender, past trauma or abuse, or degree of physical exercise.

What happens when body image issues are aggravated?

Oftentimes peer pressure is a factor in how children see themselves, including body image. Body image is a big part of a child's self-esteem. If children don't like the way they look, their self-esteem will suffer.  A low self-esteem can lead to depression and anxiety.

  • If left unattended, the child may further face psychological difficulties.
  • During puberty, adolescents may have a distorted self-image. For instance, seeing oneself as larger or smaller than reality.
  • At times, fear of gaining weight may lead to eating disorders. 
  • They may develop an unhealthy obsession with exercise.

Ways to nurture a positive body image

Given below are some ways that can help a person feel more positive about their body:

  • Positive self talk
  • Embracing your unique body
  • Appreciate how your body helps in daily activities
  • Connect with people who have positive self-image
  • Treating your body with care

Educational establishments on countering harmful peer pressure and body image

  • Social-Emotional Learning programs can help students develop the confidence to resist negative peer pressure.
  • Empower students to take on leadership roles to promote a positive school climate
  • Assigning peer mentors or skilled staff to establish safe spaces for discussion
  • Provision of Expressive Art therapy sessions for students

In conclusion, peer pressure exerts a profound influence on youth body image perceptions. But fostering resilience through education, support, and self-compassion can empower them to navigate societal pressures with confidence.

Chitrali Yumnam

Article Authored By

Chitrali Yumnam

Chitrali Yumnam has worked on raising awareness of psychology related matters amongst youngsters living in slums. She possesses psychotherapy and counselling abilities.

She is passionate about helping others and is committed to working for the wellbeing of children and adolescents.

Disclaimer: This article has been written by a guest author as part of a mental wellbeing awareness campaign. You are advised to properly verify any advice given with qualified practitioners before following it. Also, for that reason it may not meet our usual standards. PsychoTech Services, Psychology Learners or any of its partner organisations, members or employees cannot be held liable for any damage or loss caused due to following the advice and recommendations given herein.

Join the discussion!
MJ Singh image
MJ Singh said…
"Embracing your unique body." - Very very important!
March 28, 2024 at 10:23 PM
Surojit image
Surojit said…
It's incredible that the human species, with all its intellectual power and knowledge about evolution, is still stuck with visuals to idealize..
Such an important topic.
March 30, 2024 at 4:48 PM
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