What You Wear Can Affect Your Mental Health

When we are not feeling like our best selves, the instinct is to stay in our pj's all day or baggy loungewear. Our mood reflects what we wear and vice versa.

It soon becomes a habit to put on a pair of joggers and an oversized sweatshirt, throw our hair up in a messy bun, and scuffle around in nothing short of slippers. You may feel comfy at the beginning of the day, but by the end, you feel sluggish and unproductive as ever before. There is a reason for that.

When you "dress up" for the day, whether that be wearing a dress with a full face of makeup and your hair done or even something as menial as wearing jeans, you may find yourself taking more selfies. You feed off of the compliments of your peers saying, "You look cute today," or, "I like your [clothing item]." By the end of the day, you feel pretty good about yourself.

When I started going to therapy, one of my "goals" was to start dressing up more often during the week. I had fallen into a habit of just throwing on bum clothes and sluggishly walking to class. When my therapist asked why, I replied, "I feel better about myself when I dress up. I take more selfies and I smile more often."

So, my therapist and I started an experiment. In that experiment, I did, in fact, find that for the most part, when I dressed up, I felt better, and when I didn't, I felt gross. Even if I accomplished a lot that day, I felt like I didn't by that night. Some mornings, I felt up to dressing up, like on days that I had work and had to dress business casual anyway. But others I had to force myself to wear the clothes I wished I was more comfortable wearing. Though I was not happy about it in the morning, I found myself feeling much better throughout the day.

I even spread this information to my friends, who tried it on days when they just weren't feeling it, and they said they felt strange effects of a pair of jeans or a cute top work on their moods.

However, this plan is not fool-proof. Some days, dressing up and wearing makeup just didn't help, and that's okay. If dressing up cured anxiety and depression, everyone would be doing it. It just helps.

Of course, if you're sick, bum clothes are probably the best way to go. Clothes aren't going to cure "the common cold". But next time you're feeling low, try wearing a nice outfit. You may be surprised by the results.

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