While we have already considered how the past can lead you to develop unhelpful appearance assumptions, more recent events can also trigger or exacerbate your underlying appearance concerns. These triggers can make you tune in to your negative body image, having it ‘flare up’ as a significant problem now. Often your triggers will be linked to your appearance assumptions in some way, that is, triggers will tend to be things that either support or threaten to support your appearance assumptions.
For example, lets say you assume “if I stand out in my appearance, others will ridicule me”, then a trigger that threatens to support that assumption could be an occasion where you will be the centre of attention (i.e., your own birthday party or wedding) – you haven’t stood out or been ridiculed yet, but the potential for it to happen looms. Whereas a trigger that actually supports the same assumption might be receiving a comment from someone (e.g., “you look terrible”) – as the concern that you will be ridiculed feels like it has actually happened.
Below are common examples of BDD triggers:
- Direct negative comments (e.g., “you’re ugly”, or “bad haircut”)
- Indirect comments (e.g., “you look different today”, or a dentist asking “would you like your teeth
- Perceived or actual rejection by others (e.g., a relationship break up)
- Situations where your appearance may be evaluated by others (e.g., going on
a date, applying for a modelling job, meeting people for the first time)
- Situations where other’s attention may be on you (e.g., having to give a
speech, be in a photograph)
- Exposure to attractive people (e.g., in magazines, on television, or in person)
- Seeing an unflattering photograph or image of yourself in a reflective surface
- Noticing a slight change in your appearance (e.g., greying hair, loss of muscular tone with age)
You can refer to this: