Wednesday, 1 Feb 2023

Seeing just one body-positive post a day can improve self-esteem

Looking at just one solo post of body-inclusive content each day could be a small but mighty change to make if you want to boost your wellbeing.

A study has found that seeing diverse bodies online can work as an effective method for boosting body image.

The study, by UNSW Sydney, tested the impact of ‘micro-interventions’ online to see how viewing body-positive and neutral content impacted women.

For two weeks, 159 young women between the ages of 18 and 24 were asked to either follow a body-positive Facebook group, follow an appearance-neutral group, or use the social media platform as they usually would.

Both the groups who viewed body-positive content and neutral content reported an improvement in their body image.

Those who viewed body-positive images also reduced their appearance comparisons.

These effects were measured and maintained four weeks after the women saw the posts, which could indicate that this type of content has the potential to have a lasting impact on people’s mental health.

Not only that, but the lead author of the study, Dr Jasmine Fardouly, explains positive results could be possible by viewing just one post a day – according to the study.

She told Refinery29: ‘We see this strategy as a micro-intervention – a small change we can make to improve people’s experiences on social media and how they feel about themselves in everyday life.’

The body-positivity movement has soared in popularity in recent years, to the point where some began to experience it more as pressure than empowerment.

While there is, of course, value in viewing our bodies positively, there were those who began to feel like they couldn’t possibly live up to a movement that asked them to love and be perfectly happy with themselves all the time.

This is where body neutrality can be great and, even, more realistic sometimes.

As Metro.co.uk columnist and activist Samantha Renke says: ‘The idea is to understand that loving our bodies isn’t always realistic, and having those days where you don’t is OK – it’s about finding a balance.’

So with that in mind, if you want to enact this change in your online behaviour, it’s still important to be discerning – find the content that really speaks to you.

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