This week, we’re taking a look at some research that suggests the body positivity movement can be a positive thing for the body.
Body positivity is a new trend that’s being pushed by fitness bloggers, and there are some positive findings from the research.
According to research conducted by the UK’s Body Positive Research Centre, body posessions are becoming increasingly popular among people with body image concerns.
Body Positive Research said body posits were “associated with a lower risk of anxiety, depression, and social anxiety disorder in people with depression and social phobia”.
It also said that body poses were “increasingly recognised as positive attributes by people with anxiety, anxiety-related illness and mental health issues”.
The researchers said that in addition to being healthier and more confident, body positives also helped “to enhance the sense of self-worth and self-esteem of individuals”.
These positive associations were linked to “lower levels of depression and anxiety in people who reported higher levels of body posessivity, greater levels of self confidence, and greater levels in body-positive thinking”.
In an article for the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, researchers at the University of Leeds and the University College London said the results showed that body positive thoughts were more likely to be beneficial to mental health.
“Body posessions were associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression in people [who reported] higher levels in self-acceptance and body positive thinking,” the researchers wrote.
Body positive thinking was “associated not only with reduced depressive symptoms, but also with greater levels for social anxiety, lower levels for body-negative thinking, and lower levels in depression.”
The study also said it showed that “self-esteem and self esteem” were linked with a “higher body positive self-perception score” and body positons were linked “with higher levels for self-confidence and body-friendly beliefs”.
The research found that “body positive self esteem and body acceptance were more strongly associated with positive body self-concept” in people of all ages.
Dr Rachel Auld, from the University’s Psychology department, said that the research showed that the “body positivity” movement could “improve the quality of life” for people with mental health concerns.
“People with anxiety disorders may find it difficult to cope with the daily stresses and anxieties of daily life, but many can benefit from body posures, such as a healthier body, a more active lifestyle, and a better body image,” Dr Auld said.
“It can also promote healthy behaviours, such for example walking or going for a run in the morning, so that we can improve our mental health and wellbeing.”
In a 2016 study, researchers found that people with a positive body image score were “more likely to report positive attitudes to themselves and their body” compared to people who did not have a positive image score.
In their study, participants were asked to take a questionnaire about their physical and mental well-being.
Participants who had a positive positive body-image score were more positive about their body than those with a negative body-imagery score.
Participant’s attitudes to their body image scores were also linked to their mental health, mental well being and self worth.
Participating participants were also more likely than their non-participating peers to report “positive attitudes to body image”.
“Positive body image is a powerful and well-documented, non-clinical marker of health, well-functioning and positive attitudes,” Dr Eamonn Kelly, a researcher at the university, said in a press release.
“If a person feels that they have good body image, this might contribute to the health benefits of positive body positions.”
Dr Kelly said the positive body images also made people feel “more positive about themselves”.
“A person may feel that they are more attractive, better able to maintain their health, and they might feel more comfortable about the health issues that affect their body,” Dr Kelly said.
He said the research could have implications for “the way people are portrayed in advertising”.
“If advertisers can make body positive messages more prevalent, they may be able to better understand and engage with consumers and make healthier choices,” Dr Priti D’Souza, from Brand Identity, said.
Body-positive bloggers, however, aren’t so sure about the positive benefits of body-positions.
“I don’t believe there’s a huge amount of health benefits to the positive movement,” blogger Lizzy McElroy told The Sunday Times.
“Somebody with anxiety or depression or someone with a mental health problem may feel uncomfortable with body posets, and I think that’s a bad thing, but I don’t think that makes it healthier or more desirable.”
She added: “The negative message of body negativity doesn’t really sit well with me.”