Being a Healthy Teenager

Being a Healthy Teenager

Body Image & Self Esteem – Feeling Good About You

How you feel about yourself is called self esteem. How often do you think about what kind of person you are? Hopefully you feel really good about how you act with other people, the talents you have, and the abilities you show. It’s very normal not to feel 100% awesome about yourself all of the time. Many teens can be really hard on themselves; having downer thoughts about how they look, how they do in school, or other stuff. It’s okay to have goals, and to want to work towards things like improving your grades or working on your defense skills to better your hockey game, but you should pat yourself on the back for the stuff you already do well. Life is a balancing act, and you need to have a good impression of yourself, and at the same time understand that some areas could use a little work.

One area that both guys and gals tend to worry about is their looks. Sometimes it can be mega hard to feel good about how you look when there are magazines, TV ads, and stuff on the internet that shows super thin models (with what seems like no imperfections), wearing all the right clothes. Lots of companies sell their stuff because they try to send a message to the world that if you are cool enough, you would be using their products. Not to be a hater, but a lot of the models in advertising are not the healthiest people. Fact: being thin does not equal good health. You may be thinking, nah, that can’t be right, but that is the truth. Being healthy has way more to do with what you are doing in your life, rather than what the scale says. Eating from all 4 food groups, exercise (whether it’s from walking, sports, traditional dance, hiking), getting enough sleep each night, using your brain for learning, feeling good about yourself, and staying away from tobacco, drugs, and alcohol are all things that determine how healthy you are.

Let’s look at this example. Girl A is thin, she smokes, only sleeps about 4 hours each night, and never eats veggies. Girl B is maybe 20 pounds overweight, plays soccer three times a week, eats from all 4 food groups, and doesn’t use any substances. Based on just that information, what do you think about each girl’s health?

It’s important to have a good self esteem, but why? If we didn’t have a good self esteem, and were always battling negative thoughts about ourselves, it would be hard to actually work towards our goals. If we thought we were a loser and didn’t think of ourselves as being good friends, we night never spend time with anyone (which could be super lonely). If we thought we were stupid and not capable of learning anything, we might give up and quit school. If we thought we weighed too much, we might hurt our bodies by not eating enough. Have a low self esteem may keep you from doing the things you enjoy, trying out new stuff, and meeting people.

It can be hard to go from lots and lots of negative thoughts, to thinking positively. Sometimes we need to distance ourselves from the things that influence us. Whether we realize it or not, there’s a whack of stuff that influences how we feel about ourselves. Things like the media (TV, magazines, internet), the people in our life (parents, family, friends, kids at school, coaches, etc), and where we live can all affect what we think. Maybe this will mean that you won’t hang out with people who are always making jokes at your expense, and spend time with other people instead. Maybe the next time you look at a magazine, you will challenge your own thoughts and say to yourself, “I don’t have to look like this. Most people in the world don’t look like this anyway”. Maybe you will treat your body better, like getting more sleep and eating lots of veggies. There is lots of stuff you can do, including talking to a teacher, nurse, elder, or someone else you trust. No matter what you think or feel at this very moment, there are lots of good things about you. Day by day, maybe you can stop being so hard on yourself.

Check out these links for more info on self esteem:

http://kidshelpphone.ca/Teens/InfoBooth/Emotional-Health/Self-esteem.aspx?gclid=CJDUxd_lgrECFaQaQgodBUGfWw

http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/emotions/self_esteem.html

http://teentalk.ca/body-image

http://teentalk.ca/issues/body-image/body-image-booster