Last month a colleague of mine sent me a paper published by the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany. The paper looked at data from the US, UK, Canada and Germany and found that personal beauty (rated by a researcher on a 1-5 scale) leads to greater levels of happiness (measured by a quality of life questionnaire). In fact with every increase in personal beauty, there was an incremental increase in happiness in men and even more so in women. Much of this relationship can be explained by the fact that personal beauty improves other things, including income potential, likelihood of having a significant other, likelihood of having a strong social network. But even when these things were accounted for, personal beauty was still strongly associated with happiness in women.
I'm not a psychologist, but I have always been intrigued by the research on happiness. Recently, there was a great overview in The Economist (of all places) on how happiness is greatest early in life and then late in the life. In the middle, happiness is low. The data on antidepressant use in the US mirrors this same finding. Approximately 12% of young woman take an antidepressant but 22% of women ages 45-65 yr take one.
What if one solution to greater happiness in those middle years is merely investing in one's personal beauty? Maybe a new outfit, a few sticks of Botox or Juviderm, a bootcamp class or personal trainer?
Here's a scenario I'm just throwing out there:
SHE: Gosh, I'm feeling more 'glass half empty' these days.
HE: Honey, what you need is a partial highlight and oxygen facial. I just bought a few Groupons that you can use to get discounts on both of these things.
SHE: I feel happier already.
HE: I'm sure you do, because I am familiar with the research showing that you will be happier if you look more beautiful. And I know that "happy wife means happy life". Money spent on these treatments is just an investment in our overall well-being as a household and that's money well spent.
Feel free to forward this along...and you're welcome! ;)