In recent years, the links between mental health and overall health have become more and more clear. While every facet of mental health care has not been worked out, there is an undeniable connection between your appearance and your mental health. How you look, how you present yourself to the world, has a large impact on what you think, and if it is positive or negative. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the ways your appearance can impact your health and what you can do to improve it.
How It Works
Our minds make immediate judgements based on the outward appearances of other people and objects whether we are aware of it or not. We know a cat is a cat, and a dog is a dog, because our brain is able to identify specific features about each animal, and recall those features when examining something else, to determine if it is a dog, cat, or something completely different. Our brain does the same things with other people, and even ourselves. A person with red eyes, slouched shoulders, and bags under their eyes will immediately trigger a response in our brains, telling us that person might be tired. Now, whether we agree with what society deems “successful”, “healthy”, or “appropriate”, the fact is we know there are established archetypes for each of those descriptions. A healthy person might look lively, be in good physical shape, and have a positive attitude. A successful person might drive a nice car, wear nice clothes, and appear to be constantly busy. Again, whether or not you agree with these definitions is one thing, but they are established ideas behind what a “health” or “successful” person is.
So how does that relate back to you and your health? Well, we all define ourselves behind some of these ideas. There is a reason taking a shower feels rejuvenating. If we feel dirty, that is likely to lead to negative thoughts in our mind about what we should be. Same goes for shaving, or wearing clean and not wrinkled clothing. The saying dress for the job you want, not the job you have, is an example of how the way you present yourself affects your mental state. If you act like, look like, and walk like a successful person, chances are you will start to feel that way.
So What Can You Do?
Taking care of yourself is really about forming good habits, details, and knowing yourself. No two people are alike, so the ideal mental image that you have formed of yourself is going to be important. Hygiene should be at the top of your list. Daily showering, brushing your teeth and cleaning your clothes will all keep your spirits up. Taking care of yourself doesn’t stop at where your body ends though. Keeping a clean house and car are also important aspects, as those items are extensions of you and your personality. If you have the money to do so, moving into a new place, or trading in an old car for a new one can give you a fresh outlook on life. At the end of the day, taking care of yourself and the things around you will only benefit you and your mental health, and a happy mind is a big part of a happy you.