Spending just 15 minutes writing letters to oneself can significantly increase women's body satisfaction.
Washington: For all the women out there, you can now write away your body image blues to get out of 'ideal body' rut.
A recent study has found that writing exercises a positive step which women can take toward improving body image, which often leads to a number of worrisome outcomes, including eating disorders, depression, and anxiety.
Author of 'Beauty of Sick', Engeln tested the effect of three specific writing exercises on college women's body satisfaction, along with co-author Natalie G. Stern also of 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 everything it does to help you get through every day.
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 the 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.