The Unexpected (& NSFW) Way You Can Make Yourself Happier

Hey, did you know happiness is good for your health and vice versa? If your response to this cheerful favorite question of mommy blogs everywhere is "please, stop" or "have you even looked out the window lately?" we're right there with you. Yet somehow, we've never given up our tireless search for the ideal arsenal of mood-boosters. From feel-good tunes to ice cream for breakfast to ye olde inspirational quote collection, we'll try pretty much anything that's supposed to increase overall happiness and self-esteem. As long as it's backed by science, of course.

One thing that's apparently not contributing a ton to happiness (or body image, for that matter)? Our clothes, Men's Health reports. A recent study from the University of London uncovered (heh) the truth about why those people you run into on nude beaches always seem so damn jolly: Being naked around other people may actually increase your self-esteem. The research participants who were naked while hanging with others and/or spending time outdoors had better self-esteem and were happier in general than those who stayed covered up.

Note that this was just general, non-sexual nudity — the kind where you're naked alongside people whom the researchers call "non-intimate others." So, getting laid in a field doesn't count. Sorry.

The university also produced an explanatory video featuring study author Keon West, PhD, who says his team found “a very good correlation" between outdoor and/or group nakedness and happiness. "If you did these activities," he adds, "the longer you did them and the more frequently you did them, the happier you were" about yourself and your body.

Although it wasn't a huge study (849 people, all British, and 87% identifying as male), the results do make perfect sense, especially since the study's authors explain that seeing other people naked was the strongest predictor of increased positive body image for the participants. Just as watching mainstream porn — with its idealized and often unrealistic body standards — may not be great for self-esteem, it makes sense that observing average bodies (frolicking in nature, nonetheless!) may work wonders to achieve the opposite.

But hey, if you're not quite ready to book a nudist vacation, there's always life-drawing classes.
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