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Feeling ugly? Try the swimsuit test

December 3, 2012


How much of your self-worth is based on your appearance?

If you feel good about the way you look, this may not be such a bad thing.  But if you don’t feel good about your body image, the results can be mentally damaging.

Take a look at the results of this study, as reported in Psychology Today:

In a famous set of studies, female participants were randomly assigned to try on either a swimsuit or a sweater and complete a series of tasks. Women in the swimsuit condition felt more body shame, which in turn led them to engage in more restrained eating (i.e., leaving part of a cookie behind rather than finishing it off, suggesting that they liked the cookie but felt guilty eating all of it). They also performed worse on a math test, suggesting that their attentional resources may have been drained by the experience of trying on the swimsuit.

That last piece of data is particularly striking – can negative self-image actually make you appear less intelligent?

Attractiveness is subjective.  How can we learn to ignore or at least filter the messages about the “perfect” body that come at us through mainstream media and become more comfortable with who we are?

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