Psychology News – A study explores how exposure to nature encourages rational acceptance of body image and body appreciation. It also reveals how such nature-conditioned body positivity boosts mental health.
With 401 male and female participants from the UK, a study surveyed how exposure to nature fuelled “rational acceptance” of body image and body appreciation.
The research, published in the journal Ecopsychology, revealed that spending time in natural environments meant less exposure to triggers of negative body image anxiety that are found in urban environments. These triggers mainly comprise unrealistic appearance standards propagated by billboards, traditional media and social media. This mental and physical distancing reinforces healthy body image coping strategies that make way for more realistic appraisals of body image threats and their impending consequences. Keeping negative feelings at bay and inducing a feeling of decelerating time, this distancing in nature provides newer perspectives on body image and encourages body acceptance.
The study further emphasizes on the importance of restorative qualities in natural environments. It shows that body positivity conditioned by nature promotes healthier thought processes, effective cognitive capabilities, and self-control. The study hopes that it contributes to evidence-based research that encourages ready social access to natural environments.
Lead author Viren Swami, Professor of Social Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), 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.”
To Know More You May Relate To
Swami, Viren & Robinson, Charlotte & Furnham, Adrian. (2021). Positive Rational Acceptance of Body Image Threats Mediates the Association Between Nature Exposure and Body Appreciation. Ecopsychology. 10.1089/eco.2021.0029.