Bulk On Self-Esteem, Not Muscle

Admiration for the male form is nothing new; the ancient Greeks heavily depicted the ideal male physique and fascinated over its ultimate perfection. While it’s perfectly normal to be concerned with health, wellbeing and physical fitness, problems can occur when this healthy admiration turns into dissatisfaction with oneself.

We are now seeing a growing number of men who are becoming unhappy with how they look.  Male body dissatisfaction is a seemingly new trend largely perpetuated by the media. The ‘body ideal’, which is heavily portrayed in magazines, newspapers and online, can often be confused as the social norm. It’s both unrealistic and unnatural. But where does this unnaturally attainable image lead some of our men?

It makes rational sense that many men would turn to the gym… but for a growing percentage, a regular gym routine can soon become something of an obsession. A growing number are becoming fixated with the idea that they are insufficiently lean and not muscular enough, when in reality they are higher in muscle mass than most. It would appear that these social pressures are triggering an otherwise dormant predisposition in low self-esteem.

This delusion; muscle dysmorphia, often accompanies depression, anxiety and low self-worth. It is often characterised by over training, dietary obsession, wearing baggy clothes, taking supplements and sometimes anabolic steroid abuse. All of which has an overwhelming detrimental effect on ones psychological and physiological wellbeing. These effects seldom end here, and can go on to have an adverse effect on ones personal life, effecting close relationships, work commitments and social obligations.

So what can be done to help those suffering? Many may suggest Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. CBT is heavily endorsed by the NHS, mainly because its one of the most inexpensive options. CBT certainly help patients with the here and now but it often results in a revolving door scenario. The root cause is often left to manifest itself at a later date, leaving the patient inevitably dissatisfied. Requiring further treatment and additional expense for the NHS. Pharmaceutical drugs are often the go to option, but with any drug there is a risk of side effect, these options should be considered tentatively if one is using steroids as it may lead to an unintended un-researched reaction between the two.

Is there another option? Well meditation may be the one! Although not a typical body building stereotype! Meditating muscle types might be the resolve we’re looking for!  When meditating we harmonise the cognitive imbalances and perceptual errors that are at the root of dysmorphic tendencies. When these imbalances become harmonious we perceive ourselves more accurately, which will in turn enable us to address and amend our lifestyle choices appropriately. Vedic Meditation will not only correct dysmorphic tendencies but will further improve self esteem, when we meditate the central nervous system rests at such a profound level it begins to dissolve all the negative impressions we have accumulated over our life. This then enables us to free ourselves from the confinement of our fears and live a more courageous, confident and spontaneous existence.

In a study headed by psychology researcher Philippe Goldin has shown that regular meditation for anxiety and self esteem can have tangible results.

“The idea is that if a person has the psychological flexibility to shift freely from one mode of thinking to another mode, then that is a sign of health,” said Goldin. “It’s when we get stuck in certain thinking patterns that our beliefs become maladaptive.”

Results of Goldin’s study were published in the Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy.

Although anxiety and self esteem issues may seem incredibly daunting battles to overcome Vedic meditation a simple effortless technique which anyone can learn, it’s particularly powerful at relieving anxiety. Meditation has also shown to improve depression, normalise weight and drug dependence.

Contributed by Eleanor Leavey who writes about holistic health and wellbeing. Currently a student of Meditation in London, Eleanor is interested in how meditation can help various psychological and physiological conditions in the modern world.