• Mary

How your physical Appearance affect your Mental Health


In this day and age, it is often hard to avoid being reminded of our outward physical image or appearance. Whether it be from your culture, social media, and even your closest friends and family, there will always be that “ideal physical image” that is being projected to us by our society.



In return, we are somewhat triggered to conform, we feel sort of pressured to commit to this requirement and this, more often than not, is where our distorted self-image comes from.

To maintain a certain image, one of which is not of our own choosing, one that is dictated by society, can definitely have an effect on one’s mental health and well-being, whether or not that impact lies on a more positive note depends greatly on a handful of factors.


Why Can You Be Affected by Your Looks?

First and foremost, we have to address the reason why our looks can even make a huge impact on our own mental health. The reasons could vary from person to person but they all fall under 3 categories.


First is The Need to Conform. The need to be liked and within a social unit is particularly strong in humans. This is even more pronounced at crucial developmental stages like adolescence.


Next is The Need to Be Accepted. It is not enough that people have a positive perception of you, you yourself must be identified to be within a social group. This a trait that we got from our ancestors who survived because they were part of a functioning social unit. Those who do not conform cannot be accepted and thus the pressure to be accepted in any group increases as technology becomes more advanced.


Lastly, there is the fact that media and society tend to glance over the adversity that one faces and judges them by their Appearance without Context. If people do not know that you suffered a debilitating disease, encountered an appearance-altering accident, or were born with congenital defects, or even look different from others because of your race, culture, and sexual identity, they have a tendency to compare themselves to you.


And, for some reason, deeming themselves better than those considered to be different gives a lot of people pleasure. In turn, this gives those being appraised negatively even more pressure to project an image appealing enough for acceptance.


The Effects of a Poor Body Image

Without a doubt, maintaining an image that allows you to be well-liked and accepted can be tiring. And once the body and the mind are negatively pushed to the limit, certain destructive tendencies would appear as identified by experts in the field of Psychology.


First is the increased tendency towards self-harm. By being forced into adhering to certain image standards and an easily impressionable person might adopt a lifestyle that lends more towards long-term self-neglect. This is manifested by poor eating habits and negative reinforcement through self-harm if certain beauty standards are not met.


Second is the constant release of hormones which ultimately affect the body in negative ways. Hormones like Dopamine are released when a person is happy. In conjunction with fitting to a certain image standard, this can make a person dependent on dopamine to experience that “natural high” when they get positively appraised for their appearance.

Lastly, poor body image can result in lifelong mental illnesses.


Although being conscious of one’s image and seeking to conform to certain standards of beauty does not fall into the definition of mental illness as defined by Psychiatry, it can lead to such especially through negative reinforcement. The most prevalent of these is an increase in a tendency towards the aforementioned self-harm and suicide, especially among teens.


Addressing the Issue

Although the results of poor body image are quite prevalent these days, the conditions bring about them exist only because of poor reinforcement coming from the reasons above. If the reinforcement comes from more positive sources, then a more positive effect on both your image and your mental health can be seen.


This is where a strong support system will come into play as friends and family who can accept you for who you are and not what you are supposed to be will help you see yourself in a more positive light. Also, being able to identify when your beauty concerns are negatively affecting your mental health at its early stages can help intervention to prevent long-term damages.

To conform to certain standards of beauty or image as dictated by society is not “wrong”. The problem comes if, in the process of maintaining that image, you inadvertently put yourself on a path towards self-destruction. And whenever that happens, intervention should be provided as soon as possible






















































































































































































































































































































negatively affecting your mental health at its early stages can help intervention to prevent long-term damages.


To conform to certain standards of beauty or image as dictated by society is not “wrong”. The problem comes if, in the process of maintaining that image, you inadvertently put yourself on a path towards self-destruction. And whenever that happens, intervention should be provided as soon as possible

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