give yourself a mental makeover

Illustration is by Abby Coe

Open up any fashion magazine anywhere, anytime and you’ll be flooded with recommendations, tips and tricks on how to give yourself a makeover. For decades, the fashion industry has fed off of the idea that changing your outside appearance will fix all your insecurities and problems from within. But let’s be honest, the path to happiness is not — and should never be — a makeover. No change in your physical appearance will do you any justice if you don’t feel your best on the inside first. 

So step away from your closet, put down your makeup brushes and take a breath — maybe even two. Sit down in a comfortable spot, and prepare yourself to get beautiful, inside-out. Then read on to give yourself a *much-needed* mental makeover in five simple steps. 

Refresh your thought process

Instead of thinking about your to-do list in terms of “I have to,” start thinking about your tasks in terms of “I get to.” For example, “I get to attend class today” versus “I have to attend class today.” 

This simple substitute puts everything into perspective and encourages gratefulness towards all things in life. Plus, you may even find yourself to be more motivated to take on what life throws at you when you start seeing work as an opportunity, not an obstacle.

Listen to something good

In case you haven’t listened to Yung Baby Tate’s song “I Am” featuring Flo Milli that went viral on TikTok, I suggest you run, don’t walk, over to your YouTube browser. Saying daily affirmations, such as the lyrics of Yung Baby Tate’s song or these statements from HuffPost, can shift the course of your day in a positive direction. 

“Affirmations help purify our thoughts and restructure the dynamic of our brains so that we truly begin to think nothing is impossible,” said Dr. Carmen Harra, a best-selling author, psychologist and relationship expert. 

Manifest the good you want to see in your life, and as Flo Milli says, “Tell yourself everything that you wanna hear.”

Try dopamine dressing

With nowhere to go, fashionistas worldwide have adopted the practice of dopamine dressing to escape the reality of living in quarantine. Named after the “happy chemical” in our brain, dopamine dressing is the practice of dressing up for the sole purpose of making yourself happy. 

A great way to give yourself a little boost of confidence, dopamine dressing encourages the celebration of each day and will give you an excuse to show the clothes in the back of your closet a little love, not to mention remind you of what you look like in something other than sweats! 

Pro tip: “Wear clothes that you feel confident enough to move in,” suggests Carolyn Mair, a psychologist who has developed a master’s course in fashion psychology at the London College of Fashion. The key idea is to wear whatever makes you feel the most comfortable in your own skin. “If you really want to go for it and if you feel good in it, you’ll project that,” Mair said. 

Even better? Encourage your besties to dress up with you and have a Zoom party. You’d be surprised what a little glitz and glam can add to an evening. 

Take a break

Research has shown that whenever you’re stressed about something, one of the best things you can do is to remove yourself from the situation. 

Take a break, or better yet, go shopping! Yep, that’s right, the beloved habit of fashionistas everywhere can actually be good for you, in moderation. Studies have shown that the process of anticipating a reward — searching for a desired product — activates feel-good centers in the brain and releases dopamine. However, this release happens before the reward is issued — AKA the purchase of an item — so the best way to avoid overindulging and purchasing more than necessary is to stick to window shopping. You’ll get the benefits of a rush, without the weight of a receipt. Then come back to your task whenever you’re ready. 

Embrace your LBDs

Little break-downs, large break-downs, we’ve all had ‘em. There’s no shame in crying for a bit or allowing yourself to feel deeply about a situation that seems out of your control.

Crying is healthy and natural according to Healthline and can even help detoxify the body, improve mood and restore emotional balance. So if you’re ever trying to hold back a stream of tears, lavish in the release of those pent-up feelings. However, the important part of having a LBD is picking yourself up, learning from your struggles and carrying on.

If crying starts to interfere with your everyday activities, it may be a sign of depression. If you have thoughts of self-harm, call your local emergency services. If you live in the United States, you can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK. 

No matter where you are mentally or physically, there’s always room for improvement, but that doesn’t mean you should ever let anyone dictate how you should feel or look. Let’s face it: the stigma around mental health is not pretty. Isn’t it time we give it a makeover? 

SUPPORT STUDENT MEDIA Hi, I’m Maria McGinnis, a senior journalism student from Stow, Ohio. I’m also the editor-in-chief of A Magazine. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty, and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.

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