The Mood-Beauty Connection

Science reveals the ways our emotions directly influence how we look.

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| February 22nd, 2013

Chronic tension can also interrupt your body’s production of new collagen, a group of supportive, structural proteins located throughout your body. Without new collagen, your skin can become thinner and weaker. What's more, being in a bad mood could cause your skin to become dehydrated. In addition to looking unsightly and feeling uncomfortable, this can affect cells’ ability to recover after injury.

Feeling Good, Looking Great
Most of what scientists know about the mood-beauty connection is focused on the negative—how bad moods, stress and depression negatively affect your body. But the reverse is true, too. Less stress and depression might logically mean less acne, hair loss, skin dryness and fat accumulation. A bulk of research links good moods to behavioral decisions that translate into beauty benefits.

For example, happy people have been shown to have more sex than their depressed peers. Sex causes blood vessels to widen, giving a hint of a blush or glow. It also increases blood flow throughout your body, rushing nutrients and oxygen to the skin and hair so both appear (and actually are) healthier.

MORE: Doing It Does a Body Good

Improving your mood improves your eating habits. A 2007 study by Cornell marketing experts found people ate healthier—in this case choosing grapes over salty, buttered popcorn—while watching an upbeat movie ("Sweet Home Alabama") than during a depressing one (the 1970 film "Love Story"). Healthier foods have less sugar and saturated fat, which can make you feel bloated or cause breakouts and oily skin.

People in happy, energetic and relaxed moods are also more immune to the common cold than those who are angry, depressed or nervous, according to a study by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University. Escaping the all-over icky feeling that comes with being sick means you’ll continue doing activities that keep you looking your best, whether it’s going to the gym, eating right or heck, even maintaining your skin regimen.

MORE: The Science of Emotional Eating

As Wechsler explains in her book, "The Mind-Beauty Connection," scientists are just starting to dive into how emotions affect our appearance, so what we know now is just the tip of the iceberg: “We now acknowledge and have been amassing the scientific proof of the delicate yet complex intertwining of our biology and our psychology, the untold ways in which our personalities, emotions, feelings and thoughts both reflect and affect what’s going on inside our bodies.”

So, for the sake of your beauty, take a deep breath, calm down and embrace a positive mindset. You have the power to feel as good as you look and look as good as you feel.

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