woman-putting-on-makeupSpending a little extra time on your hair in the morning or seeing your skin glow post-facial definitely feels awesome, but did you know that these little things could also have positive long-term health benefits?

New York-based psychologist Dr. Vivian Diller has been exploring just that over the last 20 years, and she recently collaborated with CVS to show how beauty and self-care are an important and necessary part of overall health.

Feeling good about how you look can have a positive impact on long term health

It isn’t surprising that a spiffy outfit, great haircut, or professional beauty treatment can immediately make you feel great about yourself. What is interesting is that these positive feelings can trigger other benefits, such as sleeping better and enjoying a stronger immune system.

According to Dr. Diller and a number of studies, feeling positive about yourself, known as “subjective well-being”, directly impacts your health. Dr. Diller writes, “Subjective well-being (SWB) has been shown to have significant long and short term health benefits. Studies show that SWB can even extend longevity, adding up to 7.5 years of life.” Talk about a double bonus—by looking better we could be living longer!

Thus, women should not feel guilty for caring about their appearances—tending to your personal beauty needs is, in fact, important to your overall health.

Here’s how it works. Beauty and personal care behaviors enhance subjective well-being, which in turn promotes more self-care behaviors that further improve well-being. Diller described this cycle, saying, “a cognitive-behavior loop develops, which keeps the beauty-health connection ongoing: self-care and relaxation > positive attitude > improved health > increased attractiveness > affirmative feedback > reinforcement for self-care and relaxation > continuity of the loop.”

Last word: It’s normal and healthy to care about the way you look

Enjoying makeup or splurging at the spa have traditionally been viewed as frivolous or unnecessary, but these findings strengthen the correlation between feeling beautiful and your overall health. Thus, women should not feel guilty for caring about their appearances—tending to your personal beauty needs is, in fact, important to your overall health.

So, wield your eyeliner with purpose and say “yes!” to that gorgeous new shade of polish. If they make you feel more beautiful, your health will thank you for it!

Read more about the benefits of beauty here.

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