Stripping down could up your self-esteem and overall satisfaction with life, according to a new study.
Researchers from Goldsmiths, University of London, had more than 850 Brits complete an online survey about how much leisure time they spend “fully or partially undressed” in the company of others. This could include activities like topless sunbathing, naked charity bike rides or nudist vacations with anyone other than a romantic partner.
The results of the study, which can be found in the Journal of Happiness Studies, revealed that the longer and more frequently participants “practiced” public nudity, the happier they were. Stripping down in public at least 20 times a year was found to be the optimal number for those looking to enhance their own body image.
The researchers then attended two nude-friendly events – ‘Bare all for Polar Bears’ at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park and British Naturism’s Waterworld event – and interviewed participants about their body image before and after they got naked. The findings once again showed a remarkable surge in body image satisfaction and happiness post-strip.
"The naturists have been saying this for some time," said lead author Dr. Keon West.
"However, despite a lot of positive claims, little to no empirical research has investigated whether naturist activity (rather than attitude or beliefs) actually makes us happier or, just as importantly, why it makes us happier."
West said more research is required in terms of longitudinal study designs and randomized controlled trials. It should also be noted that the majority of participants in the nude events were straight, middle-aged white men, so future studies must reflect the wide variety of sexualities, ethnicities, and ages.
In the meantime, try hitting the beach in your birthday suit and see how it makes you feel – assuming it’s a designated nude beach, otherwise you may just feel arrested.