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Why drawing naked people could be great for your self-esteem

Looking at naked bodies might not seem to be the obvious way to boost self-esteem but, according to a recent study published in the journal Psychiatry Research, it could just be the perfect way to make you feel better about your own figure.

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Anglia Ruskin University invited 138 men and women to take part in life-drawing classes and found that, following the experiment, their level of happiness with their appearance soared by over 25 percent, reported Cambridge News.

For both men and women, greater attendance at the classes had a significant connection to improved body image and, amongst the female participants, there was also found to be a reduced desire to be thinner and decreased “social physique anxiety.”

Because of the possibility the classes might attract individuals who already had a healthy body image, a second study involved 37 women taking part in a life-drawing session, featuring a female model, for the first time. Each of them completed questionnaires before and after the session, which proved that body image satisfaction and appearance satisfaction increased.

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

It makes sense. We live in a world obsessed with body image, where so-called “perfect” figures are only a click away. Social media, television, film and glossy magazines provide a constant reminder of what society deems as beautiful — which often isn’t what we see when we look in the mirror. Why shouldn’t looking at more “normal” bodies be the perfect antidote?

“If the results of these studies can be replicated and extended, life drawing may emerge as an effective means of promoting healthier body image across the population,” said Professor Swami.

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