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You're So Vain. And That's Healthy!

The threat of aging skin and yellowing teeth may be more convincing reasons to break bad habits than more serious health concerns.

By Alexis Farah

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Check yourself out for better health.
Check yourself out for better health.

If the risk of getting cancer or heart disease isn't enough to scare you away from that cigarette or tanning salon, maybe taking a look in the mirror will.

"Most mental health experts would agree that a certain amount of concern regarding one’s appearance is indeed healthy."Josie Howard, MD

Recent studies have shown that seeing the premature aging effects caused by spending time in the sun may be enough to encourage teens to wear sunscreen, for example. And additional studies that simulated the negative impact of smoking on the skin and mouth have been successful in encouraging adolescents to attend smoking termination programs.

"Most people are motivated by the threat that is perceived as real," says Josie Howard, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in psychodermatology and is a Simple advisory board member. "Wrinkles and stained teeth are visible and therefore have a significant impact for most, while the thought of illness may seem remote and hard to fully imagine," she explains.

And if this thought process is making people live healthier, they should keep it up, she says. "Most mental health experts would agree that a certain amount of concern regarding one's appearance is indeed healthy," she says, adding that it reflects a healthy sense of being comfortable in one's own skin.

RELATED: How Moods Mess With Your Skin

But while vanity is indeed a helpful motivator, it's not sufficient alone. "In terms of habit formation, like starting and maintaining a regular exercise routine, three things are necessary for success to occur: Motivation, such as a desire to look better; triggers, such as a daily calendar prompt; and skills, like the ability to actually carry out the resolution," says Howard.

Tackling the three-prong plan is easier than you think. Simply starting each day reminding yourself of your long-term and short-term goals can be helpful in maintaining your commitment to wearing SPF, eating more fruits and veggies, or going another day without smoking. Set a daily reminder on your phone mid-day to keep up with your aspirations. Feeling a sense of success in achieving these goals is paramount to staying motivated to be healthy, adds Howard.






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Date: 12.12.2018, 16:14 / Views: 83395