Spruce Up Your Personal Style and Improve Your Emotional Health6 min read


Emotional health is an important part of your life. It allows you to realize your full potential, work productively, and cope with the stresses of everyday.

Improve Emotional Health by Focusing on Your Personal Style | GENTLEMAN WITHIN

This is a guest post written by Dr. Laura Dabney. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Take it away, Laura.

Improve Emotional Health By Focusing On Personal Style

While many often link their emotional health to what’s going on in the inside (thoughts and feelings), they fail to realize how strong of an impact their outside physical appearance also has on their overall well-being. I mean, let’s face it, when we look good, we feel good. It’s not a science– and I’m sure all the men that come into my office with a fresh haircut and wearing their nice suits can agree. However don’t get me wrong, this has nothing to do with the ego or being narcissistic.

If you really think about it, our physical appearance can have lasting effects on our emotional state. More than once I have heard people say “I feel gross, I’m not motivated to workout or eat healthy”. They stare at themselves in the mirror and do nothing to change the way they feel. This is a never ending cycle of negative thoughts that may lead to anxiety and depression, all based on how one looks. It’s time we realize that by being a little more SELFish, we can definitely become the best version of ourselves!

Personal Style Promotes Self Confidence

Being active in our personal style is a great way to gain self confidence. When we know that our starting point looks and feels good, it immediately boosts our confidence to take on the world. Confidence is a feeling of reliability and trust. When we are able to trust our style and rely on how we look to convey our thoughts and emotions, it automatically gives us a boost of self-assurance, even before we have the chance to speak.

Our appearance is our first impression, and the starting point for all of our interactions; it’s essentially for others to observe and perceive. And as we all know, it’s in our nature to seek the approval of those around us in one way or another.

man dressed in a suit and tie with double monkstrap shoes
Dress better. Feel your best.

When we take the time and put in the effort to look good, we are expressing the desire to take care of our appearance, and by extension, taking care of ourselves. By being SELFish for just a couple hours a week, we are better able to give ourselves the necessary self-care we need to feel confident. On the other hand, when we feel emotionally compromised, it is reflected on our outer appearance as we tend to mirror what we feel inside.

Therefore, improving or making changes to our personal style is also a visible sign to both ourselves and the outside world that we care about our appearance and want to work on ourselves or “level up”. This active effort sends a message to our own psyche that we want to look better, and this is an indication that we are also striving to feel better on a deeper level. Despite the fact that the changes are merely aesthetic, it still affects how we feel about ourselves as a whole, and in turn, affects our confidence levels.

Don’t Miss Out on Opportunities Because of Your Appearance

Sometimes we feel like we are not worthy, or that we don’t deserve to feel good about ourselves. As a result, we don’t pay too much attention to our style or outward appearance and often let ourselves go, leading us down a path of negative thoughts and emotions, digging ourselves deeper into this hole of self-pity.

Let me ask you something, have you ever initiated an unnecessary conversation when you didn’t feel good or even looked “good”. Most of us avoid any extra, unnecessary interactions when we’re not feeling our best. We quickly walk into the gas station with our heads down, maybe we’re wearing a cap or glasses, trying our best to avoid running into someone or having to make small talk.

Now, have you ever thought about the number of opportunities (friendship, romantic, or business opportunities) we’ve missed out on by not giving ourselves the time to cater to our appearance? It’s normal to have one or two “bad days” here and there, but if you’re living your life constantly hiding from the world, this is the time to make a shift.

man adjusting his tie wearing a brown leather watch
They say to dress for the job that you want, not the job that you have.

Although you’re probably thinking this sounds very shallow, it’s actually not. Here’s another example. You anxiously walk into an interview after putting minimal effort into your outward appearance, looking a bit disheveled and relying only on your resume to get you the job.

When you arrive, you see someone you’ve worked with in the past with almost the same experience you have in this profession, but you notice he is exuding confidence in every sense of the word. You notice his nicely ironed suit and tie, organized briefcase, clean shoes, the scent of his cologne, and his beaming smile. Who do you think gets the job?

Cultivating Healthy Relationships

We are social creatures and have a natural desire for positive connections with others. Looking good and having a sense style sends a message to the people we are interacting with that we took time and made an effort to look nice and presentable. This does not only apply to romantic relationships, but to friends, family, and even casual acquaintances.

There have been several studies that have shown that the way we dress, and our overall personal style, is a reflection of our emotions. And how we handle our emotions is an indicating factor of how well we can cultivate and maintain healthy relationships.

guy and girl holding hands

Making a conscious decision to look better will give you instant power to take control of your self-esteem, which will in turn lead to improved emotional health and an increase in healthy relationships with others. Our self-esteem is a big indicator of what type of relationships we allow into our lives. When we make changes or improvements and we receive positive feedback, the validation is twice as potent.

We can all agree, receiving compliments is a powerful mood booster; it can quite literally make your day! The more positive feedback we receive on a certain look, the more it gains value in our wardrobe, and the more we are likely to continue owning that style. But let’s not get it confused, dressing well and taking up a certain style will not automatically change how you feel emotionally, but it most definitely is a step in the right direction.

Final Thoughts

Improving our personal style is not about being vain. However, if your only concern is what your wearing or how you look, we might need to reel it in a bit. But for most of us, we shouldn’t shy away from actions that will make us look better, because it is a natural and healthy way of committing time and making an effort to work on ourselves.

As we discussed, personal style carries so much weight when it comes to our emotional state. When we address our wants and needs, we take giant steps towards achieving optimal health and happiness. Feeling confident sets the tone for our day and in turn affects our work, our relationships, and our self-esteem above all.

In the most basic sense, sometimes we just need to be taken care of. Who else is better equipped to know what we need more than ourselves? Taking care of ourselves and being SELFish is crucial to our emotional health and well-being…take my word for it.

To your emotional health,
Dr. Laura Dabney


Dr Laura Dabney HeadshotDr. Laura Dabney has been in practice in Virginia Beach for almost twenty years and has treated patients in more than a dozen cities across Virginia. Her psychiatric expertise has been featured on radio and in print media, and she consults for a number of large institutions, including the Virginia Veterans Administration Medical Center. She received her MD from Eastern Virginia Medical School and has been Board Certified in Psychiatry. Laura Dabney, MD has made a career of taking on psychiatry’s toughest challenges from treating complex, combined medical and psychological conditions, to ensure the absolute privacy of powerful, high-profile patients. Dr. Dabney has, for decades, helped her patients change their lives for the better. And they recognize her for it. Grab her SELFish Guide here.

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