The way you see your own body is entirely perceptional. What you see is not necessarily a correct representation of how you actually look, and oftentimes, we disparage our own bodies for things that others do not see or notice.
Having a negative body image of yourself can hinder confidence, but according to a new study, there is a way to improve the perception you have of your own body: getting naked around a group of strangers.
OK. Before you start doubting The Optimist Daily’s sanity, let’s have a dive into the research.
Using online advertisements, the researchers were able to recruit 27 men and 24 women from the London area to take part. Just so you know, the recruits were warned that they “may be asked to take part in a safe, non-sexual, nude activity.”
As described in The Journal of Sex Research, the participants arrived at a bar with two separate rooms of similar size and layout and were asked to complete a measure of body appreciation. They were randomly divided into two groups and separated. The control group was asked to “enjoy yourself in the company of the other participants,” while the experimental group was asked to do the same — but to do so naked. After about 45 minutes, the participants completed various psychological assessments, including the second measure of body appreciation.
By the end of the study, the researchers discovered that participants who got naked reported a more positive body image afterward. Those in the control group, on the other hand, did not display an improvement, suggesting that “getting naked around strangers (in a safe environment) improves your body image.”
The findings fall in line with lead researcher Keon West’s previous studies on nudity and naturist activities. “It’s really starting to build up a picture of the effects we can expect from taking part in naked activities,” West said.
The study isn’t without its limitations (sample size was small, for instance), but it does shine a new light on how people can improve the way they see their body, which can lead to more confidence in life.