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Posted on / Dr. Laurie Pozun

Self-Image and Wellness

What is self-image? It is a set of ideas that you have about your own qualities and abilities. It’s a mirror of our personal view and mental picture of ourselves, whether real or perceived. The idea that we have regarding our abilities, appearance, personality, behaviors, intelligence, and relations with others can shape our perception of our own assets (strengths) and liabilities (weaknesses).

Self-image is a product of learning and often early childhood influences such as parents, caregivers, teachers, and friends have a major influence on our self-image. Our relationships reinforce what we think and feel about ourselves. Furthermore, the image we see in the mirror may be real or distorted. It can affect how we relate to and interact with others and the world around us. It can be a trampoline boosting us up or a stake tethering us down.

A positive self-image is an important component of healthy emotional and physical wellness. When we are happy with who we are, what we do, and how we act and interact with others this can then support our sense of wellbeing and happiness.

A negative self-image can distort our lens of how we are perceived by others. It increases internal discord, depression, and anxiety. It interferes with our ability to function, have healthy relationships, and feel secure about ourselves. It closes doors to self-growth and reaching our goals and our potential.

Indeed, happiness has been linked with mood boosting neurochemicals such as endorphins (think exercise), dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and melatonin. The production of these neurochemicals has a positive feedback loop for our moods, happiness, and self-esteem. Not surprisingly, certain genes such as 5-HTTLPR and MAOA have been identified in association with moods, happiness, and self-esteem.

The good news is that our self-image is not permanently fixed. If we desire to improve how we feel about ourselves and put some work in to develop healthier, more positive thoughts then we can change our trajectory. Instead of worrying about self-image, work on your ideal self. Empower yourself and keep moving forward in a positive way. 


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