The naked truth: ‘Taking our clothes off makes us happier’

The naked truth about happiness. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The naked truth about happiness. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

One should not airily dismiss an idea without giving it a whirl... which is why my laptop computer is making my thighs quite hot.

The conclusion of a study, published in the Journal of Happiness Studies (who knew there was such a thing?) is that taking our clothes off makes us happier. The lead researcher, Dr Keon West from Goldsmiths University, London, said there was a good correlation between nudity and body confidence.

People were asked how often they sunbathed topless, visited nudist colonies and went on naked bike rides. To which I would have replied 'never', 'never' and 'never... those saddles are painful enough with clothes on'.

I have no antipathy to the unclothed body, it's just that opportunities to gambol about with nowt on have not come my way. Although there are nudist beaches, the East Anglian coast is not ideal for nude sunbathing (first find some sun) and using a mallet to hammer in a windbreak has got to be a hazard when you're in the buff.

I read that Corton was de-designated an official nudist beach because of coastal erosion. I imagine this was caused by the harsh and unrelenting lashing of the sea and not a catastrophic loss of sand due to it adhering to naked bodies and thus leaving the beach. I understand Holkham Bay has a beach for naturists, but that this does not extend to the sand dunes. And people are advised to put clothes on to visit Holkham Hall.

I'm not surprised naturists are happy people, I have always had that impression but this is not based on research – just an appreciation of comedy sketches involving cheery naked people (often Swedish) and strategically-placed table lamps.

Dr West is now interested to find out what causes the surge of wellbeing when we wander around in the altogether.

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Is it because we realise that other people's bodies are not as perfect as so many images would have us believe – in which case I have the means to make many, many people feel better about their bodies – or is it the freedom to feel the sun and gentle zephyrs on your skin?

If it's the latter, then it's maybe not the best test of naked joy to work with a warm laptop, in the sitting room with sub-zero temperatures outside. It is somewhere between decadence and foolhardiness.