How to stop the media from messing with your mind
Have you ever regretted eating that bowl of ice cream after reading your favorite fashion magazine? It’s hard not to feel a little down on yourself when most women in magazines appear to be flawless. Ladies, it’s called Photoshop! And in this day and age, retouched images aren’t just confined to magazine spreads -- we see them every day on billboards and advertisements.
And it doesn't end there. Can you name three popular sitcoms currently on-air with a matriarch that is over a size five? Didn't think so. Contemporary media glorifies youth and beauty, and as much as we enjoy reading some of our favorite magazines or watching our shows, they generally contribute to women overanalyzing and criticizing their appearance. Don't fret ladies! It is time to empower your mind over media!
Mind over media!
As I sit at my desk typing, wearing my '80s off-the-shoulder T-shirt, hair in a ponytail and a PMS pimple on my cheek, I am obsessing about a flawless photo I saw of Angelina Jolie in the latest issue of Vanity Fair. I can't help but think "where did my genetics go wrong?" Maybe I am exaggerating a little, but I know that we have all been there. Every day, women are bombarded with the media's idea of beauty. It's no wonder why we are left feeling pressured to look our best at all times -- an unrealistic goal that is impossible to reach, even for the celebrities and models you see in these magazines. Well don't turn off the TV and trash your mags just yet! I will tell you how to empower your mind over media!
Do not buy into the propaganda
Most media is created to make money and influence an ideology. You can't even get through a page in a women's magazine without coming across an article telling you what you should be wearing, how to get your hair to look like a certain actress' and what exercises you need to do to look like Jennifer Aniston. The list is endless. It is your responsibility to determine what is truly valuable to you. Do your due diligence before buying into the propaganda of the latest skin cream that makes you look 10 years younger overnight. You are too smart for that!
Choose media that makes you feel good
I would be lying if I told you I am not addicted to reality TV. Early on, I would check out an episode of just about anything (Yes, even Bad Girls Club). Unfortunately, the media's portrayal of ideal beauty isn't just found in magazines -- whether you are watching a sitcom or reality show, female characters usually fall into certain stereotypes. Try watching shows that speak to your heart. I personally love watching people share their talents with the world like on American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance and my new favorites, The Voice and The Glee Project. It feels great watching something that leaves you feeling inspired to follow your dreams. Instead of reading a celebrity tabloid magazine, try relaxing with an issue of Oprah Magazine. Reading something more uplifting can make a world of a difference -- I guarantee you will feel better.
Do your own professional photo shoot
I'm serious! Take it from a gal who has done a few in her time! I believe the greatest way to learn about something is to experience it yourself. I remember the first photo shoot I did as an actress years ago. I was astonished when I learned it takes an army to make a celebrity look like they do in movies and magazines. You will learn that nothing is real! Photo shoots involve a team of wardrobe stylists, makeup artists, hairstylists and lighting professionals who are there to make certain the model looks her best. After the shoot, a retoucher will edit the photos with software to ensure perfectly flawless photos. My point is… our picture perfect celebrities that we long to look like are just as imperfect as we are. And no matter what you look like, you will feel like a goddess when you are through!
Brooke Lewis is a Board Certified Coach who specializes in mentoring teens and adults. She founded Be You and Be Fearless Life Coach in order to help teens and adults build confidence and make powerful choices for themselves. In addition to coaching, Brooke is a contributor for The Huffington Post. Follow her on Twitter.