Let’s imagine a young woman walking on the street in a quiet Saturday morning. She is heading for a grocery store to buy things for breakfast. She is just out of bed, wearing baggy pants and a cap low—in a way the cap almost covers her nose. She seems to be a bit in a hurry and certainly is not in a mood to talk. After buying what she needed for breakfast, she promptly disappears from the scene.
Back into her place, she takes a shower, makes up the hair, puts on makeup. She brings out a new dress that she bought for this day. A friend of hers is getting married today.
She is pleased with what she sees in the mirror. On her way out, her gait has completely changed from the morning. It exudes confidence. At the wedding, she is happily introduced to new people. She approaches former classmates to say hi and have pleasant conversations.
She is still the same person from the morning, but, in the matter of a few hours, her mood has completely changed. What has happened?
A big thing has happened; Her look has changed. I believe most of us can relate to her. Regardless of gender or age, we all know what a bad hair day is like, and are happy to look better than we are. We know how looking good makes us feel confident.
Then why look affects our mood? After all, we can’t see ourselves the way we see us in the mirror. Once you leave home, looking good only means looking good to others. Then does that mean we are shallow and superficial?
Evolutionary psychologists offers an answer: We have an instinct to look good and because it has worked for us. For the last few decades, the scientists have pointed out emotions are our body’s way to coerce us to increase the likelihood of survival and reproduction. For example, emotions like hunger and fear help us to stay alive. If you don’t have fear, you would cross the street where cars are running fast, or enter into a lion cage in a zoo, and die. The desire of achievement or wanting of connection with others has also been beneficial for us. If one of our ancestors lacked any helpful instincts and suffered the consequence, we wouldn’t have been here.
The desire to look good is one of the helpful instincts. It helps us not only to attract a potential mate, but also to get ahead in competitions, to secure our position in social groups.
And it doesn’t mean we consciously care about our looks just to find a mate or broadcast our status(or crush potential competitors); it means in our mind exists automatic emotional feedback system that helps us to get ahead in the survival and reproduction races; It runs subconsciously so that, even when we are actually not in such a competition, we compare ourselves to the same-gender members and prefer to look attractive; It feeds us an unpleasant feeling when we find our midsection getting extra flab, or a sense of relief and satisfaction when our waist is shrinking.
Therefore, the wanting of looking good is not much about worldliness—it is a healthy, natural feeling that helps us to take care of ourselves and in the end, it is what helped us to get here. Without it, our parents, or some of our ancestors, might have not attracted to each other and we might not have got here.
And what else can there be to improve your looks other than exercise? Exercise is the only way known to us to improve health and looks at the same time.
In the previous writing, we saw how health and looks are tightly connected. And we now know why improving our looks makes us feel better. If we combine these two insights, we realize how health, looks and mood are chained along: The healthier you get, the better you look, the happier you feel.
<Further Readings and References>
– But in her own “mind” the bee, who is isolated permanently from such human knowledge, will always have free will.(73p) On Human Nature Wilson, E. O. 1978. On human nature, Harvard University Press, uCambridge, Mass.