We often hear from people that focusing on your outward appearance (your hair, your face, your skin, etc.) is vain and self-centred.

And we could go into a lengthy debate on this. Sure, it absolutely can be (just like anything in life) depending on your motivation.

But focusing on having healthy hair, healthy skin, feeling good in your skin, and doing your make-up in a way that makes you feel your best can actually have incredibly beneficial side effects for your mental health.

We all know that your mental health impacts many other parts of your life such as your physical health, your emotional intelligence, your outlook on life, your ability to tackle your goals and go after your dreams, etc.

We also know that all of those things impact your mental health. It’s like the circle of life. All of these things work with and impact all of the other aspects of your life.

But something that can impact all aspects of your life but tends to get a lot of flack is taking care of your appearance.

Why (and how) can taking care of your appearance actually benefit your mental health?

You are always sending yourself signals. Your thoughts and feelings manifest from these signals. When you are feeling good your thoughts are then positive and so are your feelings.

You act the way you feel. If you feel good then you act in ways that reflect that. You tend to be more motivated, your self-esteem and self-confidence increase and you genuinely believe in yourself. Since you are more motivated that in turn increases your desire to take care of yourself and your mental health increases and this just continues the cycle of positivity.

The opposite is also true. When you send negative signals to yourself, when you aren’t feeling good about yourself that lowers your motivation and drive (often), you tend to think more hopelessly resulting in a decrease in self-esteem and self-confidence and you tend to get stuck in this mindset that you can’t do the things you want in life. 

What do you think that does to your mental health?

In my experience, I have found it harder to just outright tackle my inner thoughts. It absolutely is doable, but, depending on how much my mental health is suffering, it can take a lot of work and can easily slip back to a negative state.

However, when I focus on taking care of my outer appearance, when I spend time taking care of my hair health, my skincare, I make a point of doing my hair and make-up and wearing something nice immediately my mood lifts and I start to send signals to myself that tell my brain “I am worthy, I feel good, I can do whatever I set my mind to.

It’s not a vanity thing. For me, when I look my best I feel my best and when I feel my best I start to believe that I can do anything.

I am much more receptive to doing the inner work, to changing my mindset.

Maybe this is the case for you too?

If you’ve been stuck in a low mental health rut try making a point of washing your face (pull out all the stops), putting on some make-up and doing your hair nicely, just for fun, for no actual reason.

Put on a favourite outfit and just see how you feel.

Maybe it doesn’t immediately shift things. Try again tomorrow.

Get a routine going (one that is manageable with your lifestyle) and do it consistently. Make it a priority.

This can be your start. Tackle the outside to support your inside. Do it for you. 

When they ask “who are you all dressed up for?” reply with “For me!

Try it out and watch the ripple effect it has on the rest of your life.