Enhancing the way we look is not something to feel guilty about. It is clear from the research that the benefits of investing in our appearance extend beyond aesthetics, says Dr. Christina Plaskos.
‘Not having time to invest in ourselves is the “norm”. But accepting the situation is not in our favour…’
The new millennium has come with some amazing inventions to make our lives easier and more efficient. From GPS navigation systems, to smart phones with virtually every kind of app and self-driving cars, we are pushing new limits of speed and convenience. However, with routine tasks being performed at unprecedented rates, there is an unforeseen upshot: the evolution of a new set of standards for human output, even within a single day. Most of us can relate to 24-hr schedules that are stacked with commitments we can barely see through. We commute to work and back again, chauffeur the kids here and there, squeeze in a few errands over lunch, and rush off to an afternoon meeting. Every gap in our time is filled. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, performance expectations have evolved faster than we have a species; our basic human needs for functioning are the same as they were a millennium ago, but today those needs are sacrificed to keep up with life. We achieve more in a single day than ever before—but at the price of sleep, nutrition, exercise, mental wellbeing, and appearance. The result is we are more stressed than ever before, while the quality of our individual performance is diminishing.
Unfortunately, this accelerated mode of living and collateral stress is experienced so frequently that is has become our culture. Not having time to invest in ourselves is the “norm”. But accepting the situation is not in our favour. As we continue to look less than our best and perform at levels less than we’re capable of, we develop internal dissatisfaction.
Having spent much of my life helping people regain control of their ability to look, feel, and perform their best, I have learned that it takes a multifaceted approach involving several elements for optimal wellbeing. One of these is investing in our appearance to kick-start the journey to personal satisfaction.
Enhancing the way we look is not something to feel guilty about. It is clear from the research that the benefits of investing in our appearance extend beyond aesthetics. Not only do our perceptions of our physical selves affect our psychology and state of mind, it may also help with professional ambition. Studies show that men and women who were considered more attractive by their peers earned 3 – 4% higher incomes¹. Furthermore, one found that women who were well groomed (e.g. hair and make-up done) were regarded as more competent and likeable². One reason for this is that employers believe (consciously or sub consciously) that employees will care more about the work they are doing for the company if they also care about how they present themselves to the world.
An important aspect of our appearance—perhaps because it is so immediately apparent—is our skin. Skin is one of the greatest predictors of our age and lifestyle. Medically formulated skin creams are an excellent first step in correcting and preventing skin damage and general aging, but our ‘mind’ plays a significant and often forgotten role in how our skin functions. Essentially, we wear our stress on our skin. The field of psychodermatology (mind-skin) has received more attention recently as scientists are learning the effect our thoughts have on the aging process. Vitamin C, retinol, and peptides are all excellent ingredients but if we are constantly under stress with a racing heart and elevated cortisol levels then even the heavy hitting skin ingredients won’t be as impactful as they could be when we are calmer and in a more balanced state. Studies have shown that chronic stress will increase levels of inflammation in our bodies that can result in several skin issues including: acne, rosacea, and eczema. Moreover, stress-causing inflammation releases substances that will disrupt our skin barrier and break down collagen which can leads to fine lines, redness, and moisture loss³.
There are several choices we can make to improve they way we look, feel, and perform. Some are as simple as preparing healthier food, going for a walk, and sleeping earlier. Others will include cosmetic procedures, health care professionals, and high quality supplements. The key is starting somewhere and taking positive steps each day towards better health and happiness.
With my patients I discuss the 7 Elements™ and how they provide a complete and holistic approach to optimal wellbeing. Each element is as important as the other and in balance with the rest.
Nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress management comprise the first four elements. These elements are under our control and are only improved through our daily life choices. Outside of these four, professional products and treatments can take you to that next level of looking and feeling your best. These include medically formulated skin care, ingestible supplements, cosmetic procedures, and/or professional massage and chiropractic treatments. But the seventh and most fundamental element, is YOU. A positive and balanced state of mind originating from within will go furthest to help you radiate and draw positivity. Complemented by the other six, YOU are the key element to looking, feeling, and performing your best!
- Hamermesh, D. Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People AreMore Successful
- Etcoff, N. Plos One. 2011: 6(10)
- Chen, Y. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2014:13(3)