Mental Health

Body image: people are sharing the advice they’d give to their younger selves, and the responses are powerful

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Lauren Geall
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A woman sat at home scrolling on her phone with a cup of tea. She is wearing a yellow jumper and jeans.

From the importance of self-kindness to the value in practising gratitude, women have been sharing the powerful advice they’d give their younger selves – and their responses are well worth a read.

Growing up isn’t always easy. Today’s young women have a lot to deal with – on top of the pressures of school, friendships and the rollercoaster that is puberty, young people have to navigate the added stress of social media, and the pressure to look and act a certain way which often comes with it. In short, it can be a real challenge.

That’s the inspiration behind a new post from Twitter user Jasmine Granton (@GrantonJasmine), who took to social media this weekend in a bid to help her younger sister, who Granton explained is currently “going through a lot” when it comes to her body image and mental health.

“I follow so many inspirational women so I’m asking for some help. What advice would you give your younger self?” she asked.  

Since then, plenty of women have responded to the tweet, with many taking the time to share their own struggles with body image and how they learned to cope.

Indeed, while the thread was originally aimed at young women, much of the advice shared is applicable to a wide range of situations – making the thread an empowering read for people of any age.  

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With this in mind, here are some of the most powerful pieces of advice shared in response to Granton’s viral tweet. 

From the importance of talking to others to the value of self-compassion, here are some of our favourite takeaways from the inspirational thread.  

Practise gratitude for your body (and mind) 

“You have one life so make the most of every opportunity that comes your way,” wrote Twitter user @KateSecretEvent.

“The body (and mind) you’ve been given are the only ones you’ve got so use them both to live the most incredible life!” 

Get to know yourself – inside and out 

“Be kind with your emotions – own them and vocalise them,” suggested Twitter user @youR_irenated. “Write affirmations daily. Talk to your body as kindly as you would like to be treated.

“Finding the strength to own your imperfections early in life and accepting yourself as it will definitely benefit you in the future.” 

Your weight is far from the most interesting thing about you

“Something that has always helped me is to remind myself that my weight is the least interesting thing about me,” Twitter user @megspayne shared. “My achievements, friendships and talents are so much more important.

“Also, friends and family will love you the same amount if you put on or lose weight.” 

Be intentional with who and what you follow on social media 

“Carefully curate your content to curate your thoughts,” wrote Twitter user @marierocher. “Follow #bodypositivity #bodyneutrality and chuck the rest.” 

Treat yourself with the same kindness you’d treat a friend 

“I would say be as kind to yourself as you are to your friends,” share Twitter user @RuthBarrettPR. “You’re beautiful just as you are.

“Your body will change over time and that’s incredible. Wherever you go, there you are – so put time aside to appreciate just how beautifully unique you are.” 

Talk to others about their experiences 

“If I am fully honest, it’s communication,” wrote Twitter user @Liv_ARBenett. “For me when I was younger, I was always trying to look and be something that was completely unattainable for my body.

“But [I’d recommend] speaking to people, her age and older, and just getting a more rounded look on what bodies actually look like.” 

Although this thread is not the be-all-and-end-all of advice when it comes to dealing with body image struggles and looking after your mental health, it’s a great place to start.

Everyone experiences challenges throughout their life, no matter their age, gender or background, but if this thread proves anything, it’s that sharing our experiences – and reaching out to others in a similar position – can make a real difference.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with their mental health, you can find support and resources on the mental health charity Mind’s website and NHS Every Mind Matters or access the NHS’ list of mental health helplines and organisations here.

If you are struggling with your mental health, you can also ask your GP for a referral to NHS Talking Therapies, or you can self-refer.

For confidential support, you can also call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org. 

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.