This surprising thing can boost your body image

The next time you’re feeling down about your body, science has a surprising recommendation: to look at other people’s naked bodies. More specifically, sketch them in a figure drawing class.

A new study from Anglia Ruskin University found that attending life drawing classes actually helps people feel better about their own size and shape. After asking 138 men and women to take part in the class, the participants’ happiness with their appearance rose by 25 per cent.

The models in drawing classes represent all shapes and sizes, and as an artist, you naturally find the beauty in other people’s figures. Seeing physical diversity — and recognizing the beauty of the human body in all its forms — is a great lesson in embracing our own bodies.

“These studies indicate that life drawing classes promote an embodying experience that leads to a healthier body image amongst participants,” said Psychology Professor Viren Swami, according to the Telegraph. “Life drawing sessions may also provide spaces for people to explore relationships with their own bodies and critically appraise media depictions of ‘idealised’ bodies.”

The results were true for participants of both genders, though more distinct among women. Both men and women expressed higher body appreciation, and women also experienced a lower drive for thinness and social physique anxiety. Researchers hypothesized that this difference could be because drawing is viewed as a more feminine activity, or because female models are more common in classes.

So there you have it — a New Year’s resolution for you: take a drawing class. Consider this the perfect reason to brush off your artistic talents (or lack thereof, in my case) and get sketching!

(Image via Shutterstock)

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