Listening to your heartbeat could improve body image

7 February 2013

Women could feel better about their bodies if they listened to their heartbeat, a study has found.

Researchers at Royal Holloway University found women who 'listen' to their bodies tended less to think of their bodies as objects.

A team from the university's psychology department asked a group of female volunteers aged 19-26 to concentrate hard and count their own heartbeats.

According to the results, the more accurate the women were in detecting their heartbeats, the less they tended to think of their bodies as objects.

Researchers said the findings could lead to better understanding of body image dissatisfaction and clinical disorders such as anorexia.

Royal Holloway's Dr Manos Tsakiris said: "People have the remarkable ability to perceive themselves from the perspective of an outside observer.

"However, there is a danger that some women can develop an excessive tendency to regard their bodies as 'objects', while neglecting to value them from within, for their physical competence and health."

Women who self-objectify are vulnerable to eating disorders and a range of other clinical conditions such as depression and sexual dysfunction, he added.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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