The "Beauty" Inside
Does “Beauty” somehow equate to happiness?
Some people might respond with a resounding, “Of course it does! Beautiful people have an easier time in life!”
And they’d be right, according to economists at the University of Texas at Austin. Their study, Beauty Is the Promise of Happiness, found that better-looking people are generally happier people. Beauty “works through its impact on economic outcomes,” according to study author Daniel Hamermesh. In other words, beauty begets more money, and yields better looking and higher earning spouses.
But, is that all it takes to be happy?
While looks might get you in the door (or get you that date) they won’t necessarily keep you there.
What about the notion that beauty comes from the inside? After all, that sparkle and shine on the outside does not always equate to feeling happy inside.
You can shine from the inside out; feeling beautiful on the inside and comfortable in your own skin - That’s happiness! And in turn, it translates and radiates to your outer beauty.
Happiness is easily attainable…and it’s free! Free and important.
Negative emotions can alter our biological systems to induce a lot of wear and tear on our body (and eventually illness), while positive emotions can have a protective effect on our health. Research says it’s likely that positive emotions can even have a hand in better managing diseases like heart attacks, diabetes, strokes and depression.
Happiness, unlike your genetic makeup or the weather outside, is more obtainable than you might think. Here are some easy ways to find it:
Psychologists studying happiness identified ten keys to happier living, and outlined them in a 2014 survey. They found the number one habit that corresponded most closely with being happy, was “self-acceptance”.
Vietnamese Zen Master and spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh sees the indirect link between beauty and happiness. He writes, “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”
Sadly though, in their research, the scientists found that self-acceptance was the one habit people practiced the least.
Want to try?
- Treat yourself with the same kindness you extend to others.
- Look upon your mistakes as opportunities for learning.
- Celebrate things you do well, no matter how small.
Letting go of your past and dealing with negative emotions can free you from fear and anger that can weigh you down both physically and emotionally.
Negative emotions – they are tough to hide and easily show on your face. Think “bitchy resting face”; A mouth marred by droopy corners; eyebrows divided by thick frown lines; a jaw thrust forward with lips tightly pressed together.
Hardly a pretty picture.
It’s a win-win situation: Making other people happy and extending kindness toward others not only makes them feel good, but boosts our happiness, too. Researchers call it a “helpers high” for a reason.
Whether it is small spontaneous acts like holding a door open for someone, or regular/planned volunteering, helping others can increase our sense of meaning and competence, improve our mood and reduce our stress.
Studies consistently show that after helping others, people feel stronger and more energetic; less depressed, calmer and happier.
Honor Your Body
Take care of yourself by doing things to make you feel and look healthy.
We often put ourselves last, whether it be family and work responsibilities or a nagging guilt that doing the opposite equals “self-indulgence.”
Never mind all that – taking care of someone or something else, and taking care of yourself are not mutually exclusive concepts. And it doesn’t require much time or forethought. Each and every day, do just one thing to make you happy; when the week is up, you’ll have accumulated a treasure trove of happy feelings.
Want more happy habits? Action for Happiness, a movement committed to finding and sharing ways to be happy, offers these “Ten Keys for Happier Living” (and they make it easy to remember, with the acronym GREAT DREAM):
- Giving – Do things for others
- Relating – Connect with people
- Exercising – Take care of your body
- Awareness – Live life mindfully
- Trying out – Keep learning new things
- Direction- Have goals to look forward to
- Resilience – Find ways to bounce back
- Emotions – Look for what’s good
- Acceptance – Be comfortable with who you are
- Meaning – Be part of something bigger
And finally, here’s some good news for those of you who don’t equate getting older with happiness. Research has uncovered a secret: Older people tend to be happier people.
Some possible explanations? By focusing on positive rather than negative emotions; by learning to let go of unpleasant memories and moving forward; by seeking out people who make you feel good, rather than bringing them down.