Body image illusions can harm self esteem

beachadAdverts promoting negative body images will be banned across the Transport for London (TfL) network from next month.

As part of his mayoral election manifesto, Sadiq Khan pledged to ban adverts promoting ‘unhealthy or unrealistic’ body images. The advertising watchdog received 378 complaints in 2015 about a weight-loss advert that asked customers if they were ‘beach body ready’, the BBC reported.

The Protein World ‘beach body ready’ promotional posters were defaced in Tube stations and a petition was started calling for the adverts to be banned, however the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) watchdog later ruled the advert depicting a bikini-clad female model was neither offensive nor irresponsible.

The mayor has appointed an advertising steering group which will advise TfL’s advertising partners and stakeholders of the mayor’s new policy and will ensure adverts continue to adhere to the regulations set out by the ASA.

Khan said: “As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end.

“Nobody should feel pressurised, while they travel on the Tube or bus, into unrealistic expectations surrounding their bodies and I want to send a clear message to the advertising industry about this.”

Previously, the eating disorders charity Beat said while it recognised advertising and media could not cause eating disorders it was aware of how toxic images could be to an individual.

And Graeme Craig, TfL commercial development director, told the BBC: “Advertising on our network is unlike TV, online and print media. Our customers cannot simply switch off or turn a page if an advertisement offends or upsets them and we have a duty to ensure the copy we carry reflects that unique environment.”

Advertising showing the ‘perfect body’ can lead to self esteem problems and even to eating disorders as impressionable young people can be led to believe they should look like those images to be accepted.

Dealing with negative self-esteem issues can be effectively done through clinical hypnotherapy where a qualified therapist will build self-confidence and a positive self image through hypnotherapy.

While we can all have times when we lack confidence and do not feel good about ourselves, the NHS warns that when low self-esteem becomes a long-term problem, it can have a harmful effect on mental health make people feel more negative and critical about themselves.

This can cause undue stress and anxiety and have an affect on how we live. But, says the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH), its therapists are trained to help people assess the root of their anxiety and deal with this.

For instance, the ‘beach body’ advert could spark off a negative memory recall from childhood. And this, in turn, could stem from a chance comment made by a friend or teacher.

Using a variety of techniques and working with the person’s subconscious while they are in a hypnotic state, the hypnotherapist can change the negative feelings, making the person more confident and more relaxed about themselves. Hypnotherapy can unlock one’s potential to break free of negative thought patterns, and to react more positively to life.