“I feel self-conscious all the time”
We don’t think there’s a woman alive who can’t identify with this feeling – and 63% of those with appearance anxiety put it down to feeling overweight, followed by 62% not feeling pretty enough. “Everyone I work with is gorgeous, fashionable and slim, and I feel like a moose next to them. I’m obsessed with my diet, clothes and makeup. It’s horrible,” admits Amy, 27.
Could our social media habits be to blame? The uncontoured cheekbones of the real world never quite measure up to the art-directed, filtered feeds of Planet Instagram. Scientists have found a direct correlation between social media use and low self-esteem. Next time you find yourself being self-critical, stop and ask yourself: would you treat a friend like this? Tell yourself what you’d say to them on a down day. “By doing this, you’re replacing the running commentary of self-judgement with positive thinking,” reveals Samantha. “I constantly worry about the health of my ageing parents and whether I see them enough.” – Agnieszka, 29 “This is perfectly normal (57% of family anxiety relates to your parents’ health), and your feelings will be less troubling if you learn not to fight them,” says Samantha. “Recognise your own limits.” How can you realistically help? And the most important thing, whether you live down the road or on another continent, is to communicate. “I worry no one will love me and that I’m not worthy of a relationship.” – Hannah, 36 “In this swipe left/right world, there are some flighty people out there who never try to see beyond first contact,” says behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings. The trick is to depersonalise rejection to preserve your self-esteem. “That’s easiest to do when you surround yourself with people who love you for who you are.” “On my social feeds, all I see are people out with friends, partying. I need a bigger social circle to make me feel like a real person.” – Kirsty, 22 It’s hard to admit to loneliness, but 78% of this group feel lonely or worry they don’t have enough friends. “Social media has a way of making most of us feel inadequate,” says Jo. “I take it with a pinch of salt – often, people’s need to brag about their fabulous life is to convince themselves that they are happy.” “I have a low sex drive, and I spend a lot of time googling ‘Am I normal?’” – Rachel, 34 “Libido can fluctuate for may reasons – hormones, illness, fatigue, medications and more,” says Jo, which is interesting as 55% of readers in this category worry their sex drive is out of sync with their partner’s. “But if you really have a permanently low sex drive, then open up about it. It’s better to be honest when a partner may feel rejected.” “I’m 32, and I don’t feel anywhere near ready to have a family.” – Eva, 32 We’re bombarded by messages that you must pop out kids while you’re young. However, according to statistics, the number of women giving birth over 40 has more than trebled since 1981. Fertility expert Dr Geetha Venkat advises going for a fertility check-up. “This enables you to make back-up plans, such as freezing your eggs.”