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Study Finds That Coping With Body Image Issues Is Easier Amidst Nature. Brb Moving To The Hills For Healing!

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Growing up, I was always on the ‘healthier’ side. My mom used to (and even now) say that when she was my age she used to be so thin and lean. Needless to say, my schoolmates made my life a living hell with all the name-calling and teasing. So, as you might have guessed, I grew up having issues with the way my body looked. No doubt, over the years, I’ve become more accepting of how I look but there are still days when my body image issues resurface and I feel like covering myself up from head to toe. And if you think I’m the only one with such issues, think again. I know a lot of people who face body image issues and that has had a huge impact on their mental health.

And staying in an urban setting with constant access to social media, the triggers that trigger body image issues increase significantly. In fact, a recent study showed that being in nature helps in coping with body image issues.

Being amidst nature removes some of the triggers causing these issues like anxiety about how you look, social media, what people are saying, etc. A recent study that was published in Ecopsychology Journal said that being in nature helps in strengthening coping mechanisms that help keep negative feelings at bay.

The study that is based on research done on 401 participants from the UK were asked to complete a survey that spoke about their exposure to nature, rational acceptance, and body appreciation. Here, rational acceptance means the way people rationalise and have a perspective of their negative feelings with regards to their body image that comes and goes. 

Also Read: Nia Sharma Reveals She Has ‘Sleepless Nights’ And ‘Meltdowns’ Over Her Body Image Issues

The study, on body image issues and how being in nature helps cope with it, concluded that spending time with nature or in a natural environment provided both – men and women – with opportunities to come up with healthy coping strategies for their body image issues.

As per Hindustan Times, the studies even suggested that being amidst nature may also help individuals to develop healthier thought processes that in turn will allow them to have more realistic appraisals of their body image threats and what will be the consequences of it in the future.

Also Read: Ira Khan Talked About Her Struggles With Body Image And Fasting For 15 Days For Weight Loss

Viren Swami, who is the lead author of the study and Professor of Social Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said that this is the first study that looks at how being in nature helps the mind cope with temporary feelings of body image issues that most of us experience at one point or another in life. He added, “Being in nature takes us away from some of the triggers for negative body image – Instagram posts, models on billboards, mirrors – that we find in urban environments and gives us opportunities to put things into perspective. The restorative qualities of these natural environments may also promote healthier cognitive processes, including greater self-control and a feeling of time passing more slowly, giving us the chance to rationalise these threats.”

Furthermore, Viren Swami said, “We know that positive body image boosts mental health, and this study adds weight to the growing body of evidence about the importance of exposure to nature, and how we need to ensure as a society that everyone has as much access to natural environments as possible.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to bet that this study is indeed stating the truth. More than anything, we need to realise that no matter the size, the body type, the colour, etc. we all are equally beautiful. And you should do whatever it takes to be comfortable in your own skin, even if that means going on a holiday with nature to keep you company.

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