Amid the uncertain and unfamiliar time that is the Covid-19 pandemic, social distancing regulations have made learning from the comfort of the bedroom a reality for many students. And so, it has also become the norm for some to show up to online Zoom classes sporting the same pajamas and bed heads that they woke up in.
Others, however, really think twice about the effort that they put into dressing up for their online classes. These individuals make the conscious decision to look good every morning, possibly expanding the benefits of actually feeling good as a result. Whether they know it or not, they just might be faithful practitioners of the age-old idea “look good, feel good.”
What is “Look Good, Feel Good”?
“Look good, feel good” is exactly as it reads. It’s a phenomenon that demonstrates how people’s outer appearances can affect their mental processes, and it’s been a topic of scientific discussion for years. The research on the concept dates back to the late 20th century and continues today. In fact, several TEDTalk videos about the “look good, feel good” phenomenon circulate YouTube, providing discussion on how looking nice can push people to feel better.
But, one of the most important experiments on the phenomenon was conducted in 2012 by social scientists Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky. They researched how merely wearing a doctor’s lab coat can potentially improve people’s mental processes, becoming the first to coin the term “enclothed cognition.”
With their findings later published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Adam and Galinsky concluded that their participants’ attention increased when they were asked to wear the doctors’ lab coats. Essentially, their experiment truly exemplified the idea of “look good, feel good.” You can read more about “enclothed cognition” in the fourth issue of the 48th volume of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
Trying it out
In light of the phrase, some students find it necessary to dress up for class, even when those classes take place in the comfort of their own rooms. Arianna Gonzalez, a freshman at the University of Miami, is one of these students. She makes a disciplined effort to wear a “nice blouse,” skinny jeans, a belt and shoes whenever she has to attend any of her four Zoom classes.
“It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I’m in a classroom, like I’m actually out, even though I’m in my room…It just makes me feel like I have something to do,” she said.
On the other hand, she feels that remaining in her pajamas attire and bed head encourages her to leisurely do “whatever.”
Dr. Annette BoVee-Akyurek, a local psychotherapist and physical therapist of 36 years, is yet another advocate for “look good, feel good.” She emphasizes Gonzalez’s point, saying how making an effort to “look good,” whether that means casual clothing or a face full of makeup, can lead to both a student’s better mental state and higher academic performance. As students feel the “positive” energy from looking good, they may then become more interested and attentive in their online learning environments.
Fundamentally, Dr. BoVee-Akyurek advises students to “look good” and “feel good.” She stresses that it’s a concept that students should not look at as something they should do but rather as something they could experiment with.
“Just try it, play with it a bit,” she says. “See if it affects your energy in the class. See if you’re more happy to be there. See if you’re more attentive and awake.”
Featured image from freepik.com.