I know that the brain is pretty much hardwired to aim for the negative first. It’s a survival thing. If the subconscious mind is searching around for what might kill us in cavemen days, then we’re more likely to survive if it spots that danger early.
So that’s why humans can be a negative bunch sometimes. Now for survival purposes, happy days, because we survive. We also have to be realistic, i.e. nobody can or will feel 100% comfortable with the way they look every single day. Sometimes we can’t help but give way to negative thoughts on how we look and there is nothing wrong with that, as long as we can get a grip and take positive actions.
But what if the world is batting against us when it comes to how we perceive ourselves? What happens if you look in a mirror and all is not what you see?
There’s a new bit of research out that says our brains reshape our seemingly objective image, based on:
– our personal experience,
– what we think we should look like,
– what we think is expected of us and
– our self-deprecation due to having failed to abide by a universal beauty standard.
When people are feeling confident, you might notice that they’ll be more positive about relationships, work, and themselves. This is because we have a positive flow of chemicals in the brain that will allow us to view the world more positively. However, if we’re bowing to external pressures, such as social media or an overbearing boss, etc, then we produce a range of negative chemicals, such as cortisol. This leads to all sorts of problems. In fact, when it comes to what we see in the mirror being negatively reflected by our brain, then it can lead in severe cases to anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and over-exercising.
There’s a rather clever chap, goes by the name of Dr. Matthew Longo, from the University College of London Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience that’s come up with this top-notch stuff. He quotes some alarming figures (excuse the fact it’s USA figures): A survey conducted by the National Institute on Media and Family, found 40% of girls aged 9 and 10 years old “have tried to lose weight and by age thirteen, 53% of American girls are unhappy with their bodies.” By the time American girls are seventeen, this percentage goes up to 78%. Especially when young women look up to glamorous role models of stage, screen and, hey, social media!
How do we get around this? Not necessarily a simple way, but confidence building. Getting a positive flow of chemicals in the brain will change the way the brain perceives the body to be. So, it would be lovely to look in the mirror and say “Mirror, mirror on the wall” and get an answer back that says “You’re looking really good today”!
Nicola Griffiths runs the Cirencester Hypnotherapy & Health Centre in Dyer Street where they have a range of therapists trained to a high standard to help increase confidence! www.cirencesterhypnotherapy centre.co.uk.