emotional wellbeing Mandy Kloppers

5 Signs You’re Experiencing Zoom Dysmorphia – and How to Unplug

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Loving yourself and the way you look isn’t always easy — in fact, nobody can do it all of the time. Having some difficulties with your body image is part of being human, and it can come in a variety of forms. One thing that plenty of people have begun to experience since the beginning of the pandemic is the idea of Zoom dysmorphia.

 

Similar to the long-held idea of body dysmorphia, Zoom dysmorphia is a feeling of unhappiness or dissatisfaction in your appearance that is specifically exacerbated by looking at yourself on a camera in meetings and classes all day long. Even if you try to focus on the other people in the meeting, you may inevitably find yourself looking at your own appearance and criticizing it. If you think you might be struggling with Zoom dysmorphia, here are a few signs to know for sure — and some tips to unplug from it.

1.   Anxiety for Zoom Meetings

One sign that you might be experiencing Zoom dysmorphia is feeling nervous or anxious in advance of Zoom meetings, specifically based on your appearance. If you find yourself constantly worried about what you look like even when you should be focusing on other things, you might be struggling with dysmorphia of some kind.

2.   Additional Insecurities

Sometimes, being on camera makes you notice different things that you weren’t aware of before. Although this can sometimes be a good thing, it can also make you notice additional insecurities that were a problem before you started taking so many meetings online. If you notice yourself adding to your list of insecurities ever since Zoom became popular, you might be struggling with Zoom dysmorphia.

3.   Facial Fixations

Fixating on certain parts of your body or face that you don’t like can be a standard part of body dysmorphia as well as Zoom dysmorphia. Even if you have specific insecurities about your face, experiencing dysmorphia sometimes forces you to fixate on those things and agonize over them to an unhealthy extent. You could be worried about the whiteness of your teeth, the color of your hair, or the way your glasses look. Whatever it may be, thinking too hard about any one thing usually is not healthy.

4.   Facial Avoidance

On the other side of the spectrum from fixation, you might also find yourself experiencing avoidance when you don’t like something. This could mean the avoidance of looking at yourself too often or trying to avoid online meetings so you don’t feel insecure. Regardless, trying not to look at yourself can often mean you are struggling with some form of dysmorphia.

5.   Changing Your Appearance

Another sign that you might be experiencing dysmorphia is the compulsion to change your appearance in accordance with your insecurities. Even if you haven’t done anything drastic, the urge or consideration to change your features is often enough to let you know you are struggling with this issue.

Remove Direct Fixation

Even though complete avoidance is not the answer, it can sometimes be really helpful to try to avoid directly fixating on any single feature of your appearance, especially if it tends to be something that causes you anxiety. No matter what features you specifically feel insecure about, forcing yourself to stare at them or agonize over them constantly probably is not helping your case. Even if this isn’t the entire solution to your problem, trying to remove the direct fixation can be extremely helpful.

Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations are definitely not the solution to everything, but one might be surprised to learn how much positive self-talk can help in creating a better self-image. By speaking kindly to yourself, you might begin to subliminally adopt more positive ideas about yourself and your appearance over time.

Literally Unplug

This can be great for your mental health for a variety of reasons, but specifically in the case of facial or body dysmorphia, seeing a constant image of yourself sometimes isn’t the best thing for you. Unplugging and getting away from Zoom, and social media for that matter, can sometimes be extremely beneficial for getting you out of your own head and removing yourself from the fixation.

Unplugging From Zoom Dysmorphia

Zoom dysmorphia can be a tricky thing to navigate, but there are plenty of ways that you can address it and work to manage it in your life. Whether you experience facial fixation or you would rather avoid online meetings entirely, Zoom has become a part of the way that we see ourselves, for better or worse.

Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.

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