It’s 8:52 a.m., which means I should already be well on my way towards New York City's Financial District for my glossy-magazine job. Instead, after panicking for the better part of an hour and dumping half of my closet on the floor, I call in sick. With tears streaming down my face, I settle into my bed with my laptop. I’ll just work from home.
This is the reality of body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD, which approximately one in 50 people in the U.S. suffers from. Those of us with BDD have so much trouble controlling negative thoughts about our appearances that it interferes with our daily lives.
But you don’t have to have BDD to struggle with body image issues. In fact, according to a Refinery29 survey of 1,100 female readers, more than half (51%) of respondents said they have avoided activities because they felt self-conscious about their bodies. “I do think that everyone has moments where they go, I don’t like this part of my body as much,” says Gail Saltz, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at The New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell School of Medicine.
Likewise, Bethany Kassar, senior clinical director at Summit Behavioral Health Center (where she counsels many BDD patients) says, “Most people are walking around with some body dysmorphic thoughts in their head.”
And whether you have BDD like me or are just not feeling how your hair came out today, these feelings are valid and real. And as much as you want to love your body, it can be difficult to overcome these feelings in the moment. To that end, I spoke with several experts to find out just how to cultivate some self-love. Here are a few tricks you can use during your most anxious times.