Taking Care of Your Physique Is Not Superficial, It's a Sign of Mental Health

Taking Care of Your Physique Is Not Superficial, It's a Sign of Mental Health

Last update: 31 January, 2017

Often high interest in personal care and image is associated with something cold and superficial. This is misguided because taking care of our physique — without turning it into an obsession — means caring about our holistic wellbeing. To feel good on the inside, it helps if we feel good on the outside.

Feeling beautiful as we are is a sign of good mental health. Worrying about our health, our hygiene or about the harmony and beauty of our body is not superficial: it is a sign that we love ourselves.

woman in front of a mirror 2

Cosmetic and personal care is our ally

Who hasn’t heard that “big changes have to come with a makeover”? It is a popular saying that is a bit vain and common, but it hides some truth. Sometimes people feel they want a radical change but nevertheless do not know how to approach it. They lack inspiration or the means, not the desire.

broken mirror

That is why a physical change can spark and drive us to make other decisions or to assume other routines. This is well known in the oncology units in many hospitals. Self care workshops are already established as an adjunctive therapy to counteract the effects of chemotherapy.

Physical and aesthetic care as an ally in cancer treatment

In these cases health is paramount and that the person suffering from cancer should primarily focus on overcoming it. But we also should understand health as a global concept.

The truth is, unless we’ve been through it ourselves, we don’t know what it means for a woman to have to undergo a mastectomy, or for any man or woman to suddenly lose their hair, eyelashes or have dry skin.

So we shouldn’t judge the way people address the physical symptoms of the disease. Each person has a different strategy to deal with the cosmetic changes that the disease may bring.

For some, naturally showing the effects of the disease without trying to conceal them is the approach that feels right. For others, it is therapeutic to counteract these effects through different techniques. They experience relief if their physical appearance does not reveal the process of the medical struggle in which they are enveloped. It is a way of making that person feel like their disease doesn’t define them.

There is a really inspiring story regarding this topic. In 1988, Gayle, the wife of Dr. Brinkenhoff, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. As she progressed through this complex physical and emotional process, Michael wanted to help Gayle look and feel better.

Consequently, he created an innovative cosmetics brand in 2006 for women with cancer so they could use products to grow their eyebrows and eyelashes. It is an example of how aesthetics is not just a cold and superficial issue, but often reflects, in many occasions, love for self and others.

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Abandoning interest in one’s physical appearance is not a good sign

There is a significant correlation between the neglect of one’s physical appearance and the severity of some psychopathological disorders. One of the indicators that worsens the prognosis of many moods is not caring about one’s physical appearance.

In depression, there is a widespread loss of interest in activities that were once of interest. An indifference toward what happens in life, an inability to obtain boosts in energy or the inability to enjoy them. It’s no wonder that finding pleasure when looking in the mirror isn’t behavior seen in a depressed person.


It’s not about the time a person may dedicate to taking care of their skin or their figure. It is about the pleasure of looking and feeling good, whether or not you use makeup. The person who loses interest in their life also loses interest in looking and feeling good.

The difference between being imprisoned by aesthetics and benefitting from it

Your physical appearance reflects the care you have for it, as long as it comes from a desire and not an imposition. Like the vast majority of issues, there is a very fine line that separates what is pathological and what is not.

Taking care of your physical appearance as a priority in your life is completely respectable and even healthy.On the other hand, feeling depressed and anxious about not being able to fit into a model of perfection and doing everything possible to achieve it can lead to dire consequences.

You can invest large amounts of money compulsively and feel that you are never perfect enough to others. You can measure your self-worth in terms of your weight and appearance, and, that, is clearly crossing the line.

unhappy woman looking at herself in the mirror

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a psychological disorder where a person is unable to lead a normal life due to a real or imaginary physical defect. The person spends countless hours checking their physical appearance and may undergo endless treatments and surgeries without feeling entirely satisfied. This disorder continues to increase and is appearing more and more in younger people due to the growing influence of advertising and internet access.

The most important thing for each person to feel good in their own skin is not rely on exterior models. We must start from our own image, visualize our body without judgment and choose to know what part of our body we want to improve based on what we feel at all times.

Sometimes it is about improving what we see and other times the relationship with what we see. It is always important to remember that nothing happens in isolation and that body and mind are one. Don’t feel bad for wanting to look better in your reflection and remember that a smile is a supplement and the perfect partner to achieve it.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.