Looks and appearance

The domain of looks and appearance does not constitute one of the most important domains in the life of an adult, however, is the domain that affects mainly our mental health. Body image and perceptions about looks and appearance is a concept that is mainly influenced by sociocultural and other factors. The main component of the body image is the physical appearance. Stressful life, negative evaluation of physical appearance or dissatisfaction of the body image can result to other psychological factors like anxiety, depression, and decrease of confidence and self-image.

Furthermore, the researches concern mainly the older women’s body image and less of those of men. This means that this domain requires reflecting on age stereotypes and one’s own beauty standards, and maybe that is why women are affected more by this domain. The idea of getting older is associated with anxiety around ageing. In some cases, women may feel disconnected from their bodies as they feel “old” because of how they look.

Looks and appearance and actually body image related mainly with the age and what we want to represent to the outside world. The later life is a navigation in different sections and points, including retirement, changing family structures etc. These events can surely affect the lives of older adults, their mental wellbeing and can cause challenges to their routines. Do not forget that especially for women, age brings transitions in the form of menopause which of course can contribute to changes in body image (but it is varied among women with different cultural attitudes and backgrounds).

Last but not least, body image vary across people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The image of our body is a multi-dimensional construct and in different groups the ideals of body are opposed.

Key areas and categories of looks and appearance:

  • Self-perception or body image: Body image is the subjective representation of physical appearance. Body image perception is the way we see and understand our body. Body image involves a lot of components and characteristics, such as weight, body satisfaction, body perception and esteem, body image etc. In more simple words, body image is both the mental picture you have of your body but also how you see yourself in a mirror.
    It is important also to note here that the experience that has someone regarding his/her body image, either is positive or negative, can affect the behavior of a person. If an individual has a negative body image can easily exclude themselves from social events, or even physical intimacy. And here comes the connection of body image with self-esteem and perception. Self-esteem and self-perception is how an individual value and respect yourself as a person. This perception affects how someone is taking care of him/herself either emotionally and physically.
  • Appearance (how I would like to look to others): The appearance of someone is more or less the same thing that the body image. Appearance is the act of appearing to someone. Personal appearance is a part of communication or presentation skills. People often make assumptions based on the personal appearance of an individual, including facial expressions, clothes, grooming and body image. In more simple words, physical appearance and characteristics are what you see with the naked eye. They encompass any way you can describe the physical traits of a person based on what you can visually observe.
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