Have you ever seen someone on a happiness high? A bride at her wedding, a newly promoted employee, a father holding his newborn for the first time, or a grandmother getting a hug from her grandchild? Smiles, laughter, confidence, optimism and self-esteem can instantly transform someone into the most beautiful versions of him or herself.
Researchers have found evidence that positivity is essential to good health. According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking has been scientifically linked to longer lives, lower rates of depression, better immune function and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. One study of college students found that people who based their self-worth on how they looked, how well they did in school or other external factors had more stress, anger, interpersonal conflicts and did not score higher in their schoolwork compared to students who based self-worth on being a virtuous person or setting their own standards.
So how can you start your inside-out beauty transformation? Believe it or not, you can change how you think on a day-to-day basis – that’s the idea behind cognitive behavioral therapy, an effective form of treatment often used in psychiatry.
First, cut out that negative self-talk. Think of areas in your life that you tend to have negative thoughts about – whether it’s work, your family or your appearance. The next time you find yourself feeling down about it, think of at least one positive thing and tell that to yourself or someone else. Make this a habit each time you have a negative thought.
Let go of minor mistakes you make throughout the day and congratulate yourself for all the things you did well. If you’re stuck in a rut and can’t get out, try doing something to make you or someone else laugh or smile – or even just force a laugh or a smile. Studies say that going through these happy motions can actually improve mood.
Treat yourself as you would treat someone else. It may sound backwards, but there’s nothing to be gained by being unnecessarily hard on yourself. Focus on what you find strong and beautiful about your personality and your appearance.
Surround yourself with positivity. As much as possible, gravitate towards people who nurture your hopes and share your values. Staying socially connected with people you admire will reinforce all the good feelings you’ve worked so hard to build.