Depression. Depression. Depression. Depression. Depression. Depression. Depression. Depression. Depression. Depression.
“Next time you are having a bad day, skip the sweats and throw on your favorite outfit, something you know you look and feel great in” (Dr. Samantha Boardman).
Clothing has magical properties! Okay, maybe not literally but figuratively speaking, yes! According to Dr. Boardman, it starts at a very young age. Do you remember playing dress up as a young child? For example, a princess, a superhero? I’m sure you did, we all did. But do you remember how it made you feel? Think about it for a minute, close your eyes for 30 seconds, reach into that frontal cortex of yours and retrieve a memory from when you were dressing up as someone else and really think how you felt? Seriously, try it.
Alright so what feelings do you remember? Perhaps, happy, powerful, beautiful, confident, intellectual, inspired, and more, right? When my 3 year old daughter puts on her Elsa (Frozen) costume, she lights up with the biggest and brightest smile! She’ll put on “Let It Go” and dance and sing as extrovert as can be. However, when she’s not playing dress up, I sometimes see her shy and more introverted side. Therefore, clothes or costumes can drastically change our mood and quality state of feeling in a seconds moment. And that carries over from our childhood dress up days to our adult selves, some of us just loose track of that. But I’m here to remind you that what you wear has drastic implications on how you feel, so make sure you dress how you want to feel or how you want to be perceived.
Use Clothes As A Tool
“Researchers have found women attach emotions to clothes. We then use the ones that make us feel good as tools to boost our mood” (Lucy Ballinger ).
This means use your clothes to your best advantage! If you’re in a bad mood put something on that makes you feel better. Seriously, do it! I mean what do you have to lose? Even if you don’t feel like it, make yourself do it! Everyone has something in their closet that they absolutely love, so when you’re down, dress up. Or, wear something that holds happy sentimental memories and values. I know it’s a bit cliche to say “dress for success” but there is a reason people say it. I read about a study that talked about how you can perform better in a job interview if you wear the proper attire. But what’s more astonishing is how you can have the same results during a Skype or web conference interview. I personally, have had numerous job interviews via Skype or on some other virtual platform and have experienced these results first hand. My very first camera chat job interview went horrible. It was at 10am pacific time…I’m on eastern time. So I thought I could get away with wearing my pajamas but during the interview I felt super tired, sluggish, quiet, and unfocused. Now granted, it was my first one ever but still I wonder what the results would have been if I was wearing a suit and tie with some student-like eyeglasses (that’s a whole other post on the power of psychology). Nevertheless, my point here is to advocate the importance of wearing clothes, but not just any clothes, ones that strike positive emotions.
WHEW-WE! TIME FOR A MID-POINT BREAK. FOLLOW WEARFATE HERE…
Because people attach emotions to clothes, stay away from the clothes you may have attached a negative emotion to. That means don’t wear items you were wearing during any bad experiences you crisply remember. For example, a bad date, a really bad day at work, a traumatic experience, or any experience that created negative emotions. I know some might be thinking, “I don’t even remember what I was wearing on that bad day” and that’s actually fantastic because that potentially means one of two things, your brain is instinctively suppressing the memory of what you were wearing on that bad day so that you can keep wearing that fab outfit, or you just have bad memory but in this case that’s a good thing. Additionally, our subconscious teases with us too, so just because you don’t consciously remember something doesn’t mean you have a negative feeling towards something for no reason. I know that sounds confusing so here’s an example, have you ever pulled something out of your closet, laid it out on the bed, took one look at it and just knew you didn’t like it but don’t really know why you didn’t like it? Think about it, when you bought it you liked it. So why not now? Maybe you just got sick of wearing it or its trendiness is dead now. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because you had a negative experience while wearing it and just don’t remember, but your subconscious does. The point is, clothes trigger feelings, even bad ones, therefore, we must stay away from the culprits. Culprits begone!
“According to a recent news release, one study has shown that women who are depressed or sad are more likely to wear baggy tops, jeans, and a sweatshirt or jumper. Women who are happy or positive are more likely to wear a favorite dress, jewelry, and jeans. These clothing choices seem to mean that women who are feeling down put less effort into what they’re wearing, and women who are in a good mood tend to try and look nicer to match their mood” (Rheyanne Weaver).
Moreover, Dr. Samantha Boardman says, “during episodes of depression, people sometimes fall into a state of self-neglect. Stained clothing, unwashed hair, 2-inch roots, and chipped nails on someone who is usually impeccably dressed and well-groomed could be a sign something is wrong. Part of treatment is getting the person back into a routine of taking care of herself” (Everyday Health).
Taking care of yourself not only means hygiene but also what you wear—that is, your clothes. So basically, buying and wearing clothes you love is part of a good health regimen. I’m not a doctor but it sounds like to me that this is just as important of a daily routine as is your daily serving of healthy foods. Okay maybe that sounds a bit strong to say but it’s because when most of us think of health, we think of physical health first. But what about your mental health? Yes, vitamins and medicines help our mental health probably better than anything but thats a CHEMICAL change from putting something in your body. But what about putting something on your body as simple as a cute outfit? That’s impressive, literally.
What To Take From This?
I’m not saying if you buy a new outfit everyday you’re going to create happiness. It’s not that simple. What I am saying is, buy and wear clothes, and clothes that you already own, that make you feel good! Because when we look our best, we feel our best. Dr. Boardman said the same thing in her article (Enclothed Cognition: How Clothes Can Make Us Feel Better, Smarter, and Empowered). Don’t wear things that might have a negative influence on your mood. Sweatpants are amazing, but they do come with side effects ;). Before I end this post let me throw out one more brain teaser…
Why do we put on specific outfits for going to sleep—“pajamas”? Or sometimes prior to sex—“lingerie”? They’re just pajama’s and glorified underwear. So why do people wear them?
Find out in the sequel…
Depression, Depression, Depression, Depression, Depression, Depression, Depression, Depression, Depression,