Writing can help women boost their body image

A new study says that writing exercises could be a positive step in helping women improve their body image.

more lifestyle Updated: Jun 22, 2018 16:00 IST
Asian News International
Eating disorder,Health,Wellness
A negative body image can often lead to a number of worrisome outcomes, including eating disorders, depression, and anxiety.(Shutterstock)

For all the women out there, you can now write away your body image blues to get out of the ‘ideal body’ rut. A recent study has found that writing exercises are a positive step which women can take towards improving body image. A negative body image can often lead to a number of worrisome outcomes, including eating disorders, depression, and anxiety.

The author of Beauty of Sick, Engeln tested the effect of three specific writing exercises on college-going women’s body satisfaction, along with co-author Natalie G Stern also from Northwestern. Engeln said, “In the first two studies, we found that spending just 15 minutes writing and reviewing one of three specific types of letters to oneself can significantly increase women’s body satisfaction — at least short-term.”

In two of the letter-writing interventions, the focus was on self-compassion. One was a basic self-compassion letter; the other was a self-compassionate letter directed specifically at the body. The third type of letter-writing intervention asked women to write a letter to their body, showing gratitude for all of its functions.

In the final study, the researchers turned the letter-writing instructions into a simpler, faster writing activity that could be completed online. It was the same basic idea, but women wrote a series of sentences instead of a more formal letter. Surprisingly, the letters women wrote for this study were so moving that the researchers now hope to create a website where women can submit letters they write to their bodies and share them with others.

“We think this could be a fabulous way to create a source of inspiration and comfort for women who have body image struggles,” said EngelIn. The full findings of the study appear in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly.

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First Published: Jun 22, 2018 15:59 IST