When you have body dysmorphia, also known as body dysmorphic disorder, it’s incredibly difficult to stop focusing on a certain physical flaw you think you have. Even though these flaws are usually either minor or nonexistent, people with this disorder obsess over them and believe that everyone else notices them too. Cognitive behavioral therapy and medication are the main forms of treatment for body dysmorphia, but there are other ways for you to cope with it too.
Walking, swimming or doing some other form of exercise can help control the anxiety and stress you feel. It might also help relieve symptoms of depression associated with body dysmorphia. Another benefit to physical activity is that it helps prevent the side effect of weight gain that occurs with some medications used to treat this disorder. Don’t drink or take drugs since this can cause serious interactions with the medications you take. Alcohol and drugs can also make your symptoms worse. It’s also important to eat healthy and make sure you get enough sleep.
Get Help From Others
Even if you feel self-conscious, make an effort to hang out with family and friends on a regular basis instead of isolating yourself. Having other people around can help distract you enough to take your focus off of your perceived flaw. You should also consider joining a support group for people with body dysmorphia so that you can talk to others who can relate to what you’re going through. Being able to discuss your thoughts and feelings with people who are having the same struggle as you can help put things in perspective.
Focus on Recovery
Write down your goals so that you can look at them regularly. Seeing a written version of what you are working toward accomplishing can give you the motivation you need. It can also encourage you to focus more when you find yourself obsessing about your appearance again. Recovering from body dysmorphia takes time and can be challenging, so it’s important to remind yourself of why you’re doing it and think of how much better you’ll feel.
Taking up yoga, deep breathing exercises or some other type of relaxation technique can go a long way toward helping you manage the stress that body dysmorphia causes. When you start to focus on your flaw, stop and practice the relaxation technique you’ve learned instead. This will help you feel calmer and encourage you to focus on what you’re doing to relax instead of continuing to think about your physical appearance.
Ask your therapist for recommendations on self-help books that can help you cope with body dysmorphia. Since some of these books have questionable advice, it’s important to get a professional opinion on which ones are genuinely helpful. The books you read might give advice on how to accept yourself, how to improve your self-esteem or how to change your outlook on life to a more positive one.