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Boosting 'body image' through life-drawing

You may have not thought that drawing a life model is good for you, but research now shows, life-drawing has a positive imact on negative body image in adults and most recently in teens.

(above) 'Creative Thinking Workshop' for year 10 Business Studies class at Penrhos College

Over the years as I've watched nervous 'beginners' rock up to my 'Charcoal and Champagne' life-drawing classes for adults, as well as my 'Creative Thinking Workshops' which I run for businesses and schools.

In even the short amount of time we spend together, Im endlessly amazed at the remarkable changes in not just how individuals feel about their 'ability to draw' and their 'creative ability', but also their mind set about how they view the body – and so it comes no surprise to see the following findings by Professor Viren Swami, from Anglia Ruskin University:

“Previous studies with adults have shown that life drawing has a positive effect on body image, with evidence coming from cross-sectional, experimental and prospective studies in multiple university and community samples.
“It’s encouraging to see the same may be the case for adolescents as well.
“Negative body image is a real public health concern in young people, particularly because of its association with disordered eating and poorer psychological well-being.
“Our findings are important because they point at an effective means of promoting healthier body image in this age group.
“Regular life drawing classes have the potential not only to promote a more positive body image, but also to develop more realistic notions of what bodies look like.”
For girls, life drawing challenged the idea that the perfect body was thin, he said. Boys no longer assumed that they had to be muscular to be attractive.
Participants also became more respectful of other people’s appearance, the study showed.
“They were less judgmental about other people they might meet, or how they treat their bodies, what they do with their bodies, or how they clothe their bodies,” said Prof Swami.
Previous research had shown that around half of young girls and 35% of boys were dissatisfied with their bodies, the professor added.
The three aspects of body image improved by life drawing were appreciation, acceptance and pride. These related to respecting, feeling good about, and taking care of your body.

If you are interested in finding out about incorporating a coached life-drawing workshop into your school, community or wellness program please get in touch with Aneta.

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