“I avoid mirrors lately because I’ve been uncomfortable with things,” says a women at the start of Dove’s newest viral video (watch it above), which combines beauty with psychology to prove that beauty is a state of mind. You know we at YouBeauty love this stuff (because beauty is really all about confidence) so we’ll get into the psychological principles behind it, but first a little more on the video.
According to Dove research, a whopping 80 percent of women feel anxious about the way they look. The brand tapped psychologist Ann Kearney-Cooke, Ph.D, a psychologist at The Cincinnati Psychotherapy Institute, to design an experiment that highlights how the right mindset will make you feel beautiful. In the experiment, Dr. Kearney-Cooke enlisted participants to wear a “beauty patch” for two weeks and keep a video diary of their feelings. At the end of of the experiement, each women reported that the beauty patch improved her self-esteem. But, (spoiler alert) here’s the hook: The patches contained zero medication, and the women felt beautiful all on their own.
This is a psychological phenomonem called the “Placebo Effect,” which describes the ability of your mind to affect your body. It’s been researched at length, and here’s one of our favorite studies that proves the concept: Researchers at Harvard University gathered a group of hotel housekeepers who didn’t consider cleaning to be exercise, though the job is in fact highly active. Half of the 84 women were informed that their work met the Surgeon General’s recommendation for daily exercise, and learned how many calories their tasks actually burned. The other group received no information. Over the course of a month, the “informed group” reported that they exercised more (though their workload didn’t change). And the real kicker? The women’s physical fitness improved to match their perceptions. They lost 2 pounds, and they lowered their blood pressure, body-fat percentage, body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR).
“When a woman feels beautiful, she radiates happiness and confidence, which inspires her life in a significant way,” said Dr. Kearney-Cooke. “These women, like so many others, struggle to recognize their own beauty and it severely affects their daily lives. This ground-breaking experiment was designed to illustrate that beauty is a state of mind and that the power to feel beautiful comes from within.”
At the end of the video, one woman sums it up: “I’m beautiful, I’m strong, I’m independent and I can be who I want to.”
Beauty is a state of mind, and it’s one that we all need to get in. The next time you’re feeling unpretty—or un-anything, for that matter—remember this experiment and power your way through it.