The effect of image on mental wellbeing
How many times have you picked up a magazine, watched a movie or reality show, or flicked through Instagram, and found yourself feeling less than perfect in comparison with the hourglass figures and flawless skin depicted in the media and across Hollywood?
Celebrities and influencers have been the cause of great envy for decades, and as such have become a kind of focal image concept that many women look to replicate through their own appearance, style and overall image.
But what impact is this having on our mental wellbeing, and is it really healthy to constantly be comparing ourselves with others in the search for something that we perceive as perfection?
How image can bring us down
The simple fact is that our image and the reflection we see can only bring us down if we let it. Mindless comparison has long been one of the main causes of a negative mindset and can be attributed to many of the damaging and potentially harmful lengths that women go to in order to transform or change their appearance.
That’s why it’s time to turn image and our mentality on its head – and look instead at the positive ways in which we can use image to impact how we feel.
How to use image to manifest a positive mental state
To manifest something is to believe in it so completely and so fully that you will ultimately invite it into your life. Manifesting a positive mental state essentially calls for a shift in your mindset and the way you look at things, including being kind to your reflection, and finding ways of injecting positivity and joy into the way you dress and the way you interact with those around you – all captured under the heading of “Your Image”.
Without further ado, here are our five key steps to using your image to create a positive mental state – for today, tomorrow, and the rest of your life.
1. Dress Light
This is where color becomes super important – not only reflecting your mood, but in helping to lift you out of a dark mood. Light and bright colors make us feel more upbeat and livelier – with pastel shades, florals, yellows and pinks all contributing towards what we like to see as a wardrobe of positive energy. If you wake up and don’t feel particularly bright, something as simple as wearing bright colors can instantly transform your mood. Equally, if you are looking to reflect a certain mood or energy, you can do so through the way you use color in your outfit: for example, wearing sombre black clothing for a funeral, or wearing clean monochrome in the office.
2. Comfort vs. Style
So often we see women forcing themselves into garments and accessories (especially shoes) which offer little in the way of support and comfort, but which are linked with style and the concept of looking good. This is all very well, but if you don’t feel good in what you are wearing then you will never feel as good as you look – and no matter how hard you try to cover that up, your internal feelings will eventually shine through in the way you interact with those around you. Remember, you can only hide behind appearance for so long, before your real thoughts and feelings become apparent.
3. Live well to feel good
We’re not referring to dieting here, though it is important to be mindful about what you put in your body and how much you let you body exercise and move – if only because eating well and engaging in regular exercise is hugely beneficial to your mindset and mood. Exercising releases endorphins which make us feel happy; eating colorful foods makes us feel happier and adds fuel to our brain; getting out and about in the fresh air does wonders for our mood. All of these things have a positive impact on your mental state, first and foremost – but can also be great for your overall image.
4. Focus on the other aspects of your image
Image is not all about clothing – it’s also about your natural features, the condition of your hair and skin, and the way you hold yourself. Invest in a self-care routine which ticks all of those boxes, and remember to save some of your quarterly shopping budget for items and products which benefits your hair and skin as well as your body.
Most of all, remember that when you feel good, you look good, and in the words of Roald Dahl:
“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams, and you will always look lovely”.