People often like to say that it is what’s on the inside that counts, meaning that a person’s personality plays a larger role in defining who they are as a person. What they don’t mention though is to the degree our personalities, emotions, and attitudes are affected by our outward appearance. There is an undeniable link between how we look, and how we feel.
How It Works
Our brain is remarkable. It can remember specific features, attributes, and behaviors in relation to objects and other phenomena. That is how it can tell a dog is a dog, and a cat is a cat. It works the same way with people as well. Whether we like it or not, our brain is making rapid judgements and determinations when we are introduced to or meet with other people. We see a person with slouched shoulders and bags under the eyes, and immediately we think that person might be tired or a bit unhappy. If someone walks up with a spring in their step and a big smile on their face, our brain is going to tell us that person is happy, perhaps unbearably so.
So what does that have to do with your appearance? Well if you are wearing dirty clothes, have a couple teeth missing, and haven’t taken a shower in days, chances are you aren’t going to be feeling great. While that is obviously not 100% true, it can be generally seen as true. The ancient Greeks said cleanliness is next to Godliness because the feeling of refreshment you get when you put on clean clothes, have a shave, or take a shower improves your outward appearance, and thus improves your mental state. You are far more likely to think highly of yourself if you take care of yourself, rather than the opposite.
What Can You Do
This part is really up to you. Everyone has their own unique idea about what looks good and what they want to look like. There are a few general areas on which almost anyone can improve however.
Hygiene is probably top on that list. Ditch the old unclean clothes. Trim your nails and wash your hair. Shower daily. Take care of any dental work that you have been avoiding. And while you are at it start brushing your teeth consistently. A smile is your gateway to the world so taking care of your dental hygiene should be of utmost importance.
An often overlooked part of your appearance is the things you own, such as your house and car. How well kept your home is can usually be an indicator of how well you take care of yourself. Your car too can give away whether you are serious about taking care of your appearance. Often times purchasing a new car or moving into a new housing situation can be a reset button. Your appearance extends beyond your body, so take care of the material objects in your life as well.
Paying attention to the way you look isn’t just a superficial practice. There are serious mental health benefits to keeping yourself up to your standard of appearance. The way you look affects the way you feel, so taking the time to keep up your appearance is well worth it.