Men's Health (UK) - - In This Issue -

New re­search proves that one Sir David At­ten­bor­ough can give your ego a boost

Read the fol­low­ing in your best Sir David voice: “Here we have a prime ex­am­ple of a hu­man male, lo­cated just south of a mir­ror. He stands, tall and strong, dis­play­ing the re­sults of his ef­forts in a nearby gym­na­sium…” But this male can’t see any re­sults – only his flaws.

One in 10 men who train in UK gyms now suf­fers from body dys­mor­phia, and far more have low self-es­teem as­so­ci­ated with their phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance. It’s a grow­ing prob­lem, but psy­chol­o­gists have found a sur­pris­ing so­lu­tion. In a re­cent study*, sub­jects were asked to com­plete a sur­vey about their own ap­pear­ance. They were then ex­posed to a series of im­ages: half saw pic­tures of the nat­u­ral world, while the other half viewed ur­ban scenes. Then, they re­peated the sur­vey. Mem­bers of the na­ture group were more sat­is­fied with their body the sec­ond time round, while the city group showed no up­lift.

The re­searchers con­cluded that im­ages of na­ture – es­pe­cially when they’re nar­rated by At­ten­bor­ough, we imag­ine – can be a salve for this mod­ern malaise, brought on in part by the pres­sures of so­cial me­dia and the cul­ture of train­ing purely for aes­thet­ics. So, re­watch an old episode of Planet Earth and feel your self-es­teem take a big step up the evo­lu­tion­ary lad­der.


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