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Body Confidence & Self-Esteem

Body Image

Body image relates to how we think and feel about our appearance, and the relationship we have with our bodies. It’s the perception of how we see ourselves, despite what the reality may be. Most people at some point lack confidence especially when the media and online platforms create the myth of the ‘perfect’ body. A positive body image means that we accept, appreciate and are grateful for the body that we have and are not trying to change our appearance to fit how we think, or anyone else thinks, we should look.



Self-esteem refers to a person’s overall sense of his or her value or worth. It can be considered a sort of measure of how much a person “values, approves of, appreciates, prizes, or likes him or herself” (Adler & Stewart, 2004). In other words, self-esteem is how we feel about ourselves inside and out.

Good self-esteem means that we have a positive view of ourselves; affording ourselves and expecting to be treated with love, value and respect. It also means believing that our ideas, feelings and opinions are important. So that even when we face difficulties, we still recognise that we are good enough and don’t put ourselves down.


Is low self-esteem a mental health condition?

Low self-esteem isn’t a mental health condition in itself, but the two can be closely linked. Some of the signs of low self-esteem can also be signs of or lead to a mental health difficulty. For example:

  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Blaming yourself unfairly
  • Hating yourself
  • Worrying about being unable to do things

If these feelings are ongoing or are affecting your daily life, then seeking support is important.

Having a mental health difficulty could also cause you to have low self-esteem. It might feel harder to cope or to take steps to improve your self-esteem if you struggle with your mental health. You can find additional information on this at: What is self-esteem? – Mind

When our self-esteem is low, we tend to see ourselves and our life in a more negative and critical light. We also feel less able to take on the challenges that life throws at us Source: Raising low self-esteem – NHS (

As you can see from the diagram below, self-esteem, body image and mental health are all closely linked, and feeling negative in one area, can lead to negative feelings in other areas of our lives.

In the diagram below, we can see how a positive body image and self-esteem supports good mental health; just as looking after our mental health, has a positive impact on self-esteem and body image.

Body Confidence & Self-Esteem- image - 4

How can I improve my self-esteem?

Recognise what you’re good at
We’re all good at something, whether it’s cooking, singing, doing puzzles or being a friend. We also tend to enjoy doing the things we’re good at, which can help boost your mood.

Build positive relationships
If you find certain people tend to bring you down, try to spend less time with them, or tell them how you feel about their words or actions. Try to build relationships with people who are positive and who appreciate you.

Be kind to yourself
Being kind to yourself means being gentle to yourself at times when you feel like being self-critical. Think what you’d say to a friend in a similar situation. We often give far better advice to others than we do to ourselves.

Learn to be assertive
Being assertive is about respecting other people’s opinions and needs and expecting the same from them. One trick is to look at other people who act assertively and copy what they do. It’s not about pretending you’re someone you’re not. It’s picking up hints and tips from people you admire and letting the real you come out.

Start saying “no”
People with low self-esteem often feel they have to say yes to other people, even when they do not really want to. The risk is that you become overburdened, resentful, angry and depressed. For the most part, saying no does not upset relationships. It can be helpful to keep saying no, but in different ways, until they get the message.

Give yourself a challenge
We all feel nervous or afraid to do things at times. But people with healthy self-esteem do not let these feelings stop them trying new things or taking on challenges. Set yourself a goal, such as joining an exercise class or going to a social occasion. Achieving your goals will help to increase your self-esteem.

Source: Raising low self-esteem – NHS (

How can I encourage a healthier body image?

  • Treat your body with respect.
  • Eat well-balanced meals and exercise because it makes you feel good and strong, not as a way to control your body.
  • Find a short message that helps you feel good about yourself and display it around your home to remind you to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
  • Surround yourself with positive friends and family who like you just as you are. Be aware of how you talk about your body with family and friends. Do you often seek reassurance or validation from others to feel good about yourself? Do you often focus only on physical appearances?
  • Remember that everyone has challenges with their body image at times. When you talk with friends, you might discover that someone else wishes they had a feature you think is undesirable.
  • Write a list of the positive benefits of the body part or feature you don’t like or struggle to accept.
  • The next time you notice yourself having negative thoughts about your body and appearance, take a minute to think about what’s going on in your life. Are you feeling stressed, anxious, or low? Are you facing challenges in other parts of your life? When negative thoughts come up, think about what you’d tell a friend if they were in a similar situation and then take your own advice.

Source: Body Image, Self-Esteem, and Mental Health | Here to Help


What action can I take?

If you are worried or anxious and you would like to talk to someone for advice, there are a number of people you could speak to about how you are feeling. Depending on your situation, you may choose to speak to:

  • Your Manager
  • The Human Resources (HR) Department at your place of work
  • The Capella Designated Safeguarding Lead or another member of the Capella team that you feel comfortable speaking to.
  • A support website for impartial/confidential advice

Key Contacts

Please report any concerns to our Designated Safeguarding Lead.

Capella Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)   
Kate Smith, Managing Partner


Phone: 07968 344764

Capella Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (Deputy DSL)
Claire Hughes, Capella Quality and Commercial Director


Phone: 07971 260517


Further Information and support

You may also find it helpful to know about national organisations that may be able to provide you with support, and we have listed a number of these below for your information. Please be aware that Capella has not conducted any due diligence on the organisations and as such, we cannot vouch for or recommend their services.

Area  Service  Link  Contact 





and Wellbeing

Childline Childline Call: 0800 1111
Samaritans Samaritans Call: 116 123


Young Minds YoungMinds Source of information
Mind Mind Call: 0300 123 3393


Supportline SupportLine Call: 01708 765200


Talk ED TalkED Calls can be booked through the website.



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