Body Image: I see me (SC14Ignite recap)June 13, 2014
For those of you who wanted a refresher on the Survivor Conference 2014 body image workshop, or for those of you who couldn’t be there, here are some notes to keep in your back pocket.
Body image definition: “A subjective picture of one’s own physical appearance established both by self-observation and by noting the reactions of others.”
Understanding where you are: Core beliefs
- How did I perceive my body image before cancer?
- Was it positive? Negative? Neutral?
- How important were appearances when I was growing up?
- What are some of the key messages I have registered over the years?
Visible vs invisible changes that affect my body image:
- Hair loss
- Skin changes
- Loss of body parts, organs
- Weight fluctuation
Invisible changes can have a lot of impact on your body image and often last much longer then some of the visible ones.
- It is legitimate to have emotions and feelings around changes in your body image.
- Struggling with your body image has NOTHING to do with how grateful you are to be alive, to receive treatment, etc
- You are not vain because you want for things to be different
- Thoughts are just thoughts not facts
- Identify your negative thoughts: are they useful, based on evidence, logical, influenced?
- Your health care team or doctor;
- Your peers;
- A counselor
- Yourself; write yourself a letter, look at yourself in the mirror.
Physical activity (to what extent you can do it) has a positive influence on how we feel about our body.
- Sabine Wilhelm, Feeling Good about the Way You Look- A Program For Overcoming Body Image Problems, 2006.
- Thomas F. Cash, The Body Image Workbook: A 8-Step Program for Learning to Like Your Looks.
- Psychosocial team at cancer center
- Canadian Cancer Society
- MD Anderson website
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