Ever come across the saying, ‘look good, feel good’, well it indeed is a true statement. If you never take the time to dress nice or even put effort into your outfit at all, it's easy to let feelings of depression and isolation take over. No, we are not kidding, you probably have witnessed it yourself. Say, you're stuck at home with nothing to do for a few days. You have nowhere to go so you just stay in your pajamas and lounge around. What may seem like an ideal lazy weekend can quickly turn into despair. You may start to feel lazy, ugly, and lethargic because you haven't gotten up, gotten dressed, or done anything with your day. Put on a nice outfit and make yourself look good and you'll be more likely to feel good and want to get something accomplished. This phenomenon is known as ‘dopamine dressing’.
What is ‘Dopamine Dressing’?
To understand dopamine dressing, you must know what dopamine is. Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that’s released in the brain and used to send messages between nerve cells. It contributes to various functions, such as reward, motivation, memory, and attention. When dopamine is released in large quantities, it creates a feeling of euphoria or intense pleasure and reward, which motivates us to repeat a specific action or behavior.
With all this in mind, dopamine dressing is defined as the euphoria or pleasure experienced from buying or wearing certain clothes. Researchers refer to the emotional effect of clothing on our thoughts and judgments as 'enclothed cognition' and have indeed found that what we wear can have a symbolic meaning that affects our mental health and behavior.
How Does it Affect Us?
Though it might sound sketchy, dopamine dressing does affect us in our day-to-day lives. Take it this way, your fashion choices can affect how you see yourself and how others see you. People recommend yoga or counselling with psychologists for problems associated with mental health (no doubt they are high on the list) but dressing well is such an underrated way to tackle this problem which very few people seem to know. Here are some ways in which dressing well can affect how you feel and think.
1. Encourage Creativity
There are many steps involved in getting dressed up and choosing how to put a fabulous look together. Deciding which colors match and what accessories to wear for the occasion can bring out your creative side. Creativity helps you focus. Focus is important if you want to improve your mental health. Deciding what outfit to wear keeps your mind engaged creatively. Remember, there are no rules to styling. You create what you want to see. Creativity brings out the best in you. It allows you to discover what you are capable of. Not all combinations will be impressive, but once you get a hooked look, it will be as rewarding as solving a hard puzzle and instantly brighten up your mood.
2. Promotes Confidence
Depression and anxiety can leave you feeling less confident about yourself and your capabilities. When you dress the part, it boosts your confidence. It is easy to tell how confident a person is, just by looking at how they dress. This is why people dress their best when going for an interview. Employers can easily tell which candidate lacks the confidence they are looking for. Regular-fit clothes are the best. Always wearing baggy clothes can give the impression that you are hiding, and you don't want to be seen while wearing too many skintight clothes will make you uncomfortable. Choosing what to wear because it makes you happy gives you a great outlook. It shows you are ready to handle whatever comes your way.
3. Best Way To Distract
A mentally unhealthy person is often thinking and overthinking. Most often, these thoughts are not healthy ones. Choosing which clothes to wear gives you the distraction you need at the hour to keep your distant thoughts at bay. It leaves you feeling good about the present and more positive about the future. As you begin to see yourself in a more positive light, you will begin to see other things in the same way. Walking to a shop and looking for clothes to buy can take your mind off the things that make you feel bad about yourself. Thinking about how good you will look in the clothes you buy can put a hold on negative thoughts.
4. Influences On How You Feel
Have you noticed that when you dress your best, you also feel your best? Dressing up can influence your feelings. During the pandemic, many people were confined to their homes for more than a year cut off from the world, now when the world is back on its feet, flaunt all those clothes that had been piled up in your wardrobe. How you dress will affect how people see you, and this will affect how you see yourself. You have often read about all those blogs on ‘power dressing’ or ‘ how to dress for confidence’, there is a science behind it. In case you have not read those, you will find them on our website, do have a look to enhance and improve your style game.
5. Vision For The Future
For people battling mental health, the future is a very distant thought and doesn’t look very promising. When you take the time to choose your clothes and accessories to look your best, it shows that you are ready to take on whatever the day brings. This can give a sense of optimism and peace of mind when you think about the future. How you think about today can affect how you approach tomorrow. The vision you have of tomorrow is affected by how you feel today. As you get hold of your present, your vision for the future will become clearer and more distinct. When you are confident about your present, the possibilities for the future are endless. Taking a step is always better than choosing to remain where you are. Dressing well is the first step.
How to Incorporate ‘Dopamine Dressing’?
If you want to try out dopamine dressing for yourself, here are some ways you can find the optimal dopamine-boosting outfit:
- Scroll through your pictures or social media to make notes of outfits you wore when you felt your absolute best. What did they have in common? Did you follow a particular color palette? Materials? Brands? Find the common denominators between these outfits to find out what new items you can buy or what outfits you can create with the items you already own.
- Find your color or rather the ones that you least enjoy. Ever had a favorite color that didn’t show up in your closet? Then it’s probably not your favorite color. Explore different colors based on your feelings. Does purple always seem to bring you down? Donate your purple clothing. Pick out outfits you wore when you felt your worst using the method mentioned above. Does that white dress always remind you of that rough day? Donate it or try to repurpose it into an outfit that will boost your mood. In short, get rid of all the bad vibes by donating them to the needy.
- Write down what you reach for when searching for an outfit in your closet. Does the oversized hoodie spark feelings of joy and comfort? Does that blue shirt remind you of your triumph at the first interview? Find ways to incorporate more items like these into your wardrobe and fill it with positive vibes only.
- With apps like Pinterest and Instagram, dopamine dressing is an easily achievable trend you can utilize in your day-to-day routine to improve your mood and your mental health.
Dopamine dressing can be a great way to boost your mental health and mood, but it is not the answer to severe mental disorders. For those who have anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or other mental health disorders, professional treatment is needed. Anyways dressing is meant to be fun and that is what dopamine dressing focuses on here is all that you need to know about dopamine dressing.
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