Every wondered how much time you spend getting ready in front of the bathroom mirror? The latest "Ideal to Real" survey conducted by Today/AOL has revealed that women spend an average of 55 minutes every day primping. A little quick math for you: This is the equivalent of two weeks per year devoted to hair and makeup.
Yup, we spend two full weeks each year making sure we look our best. Researchers asked 2,000 adults and 200 teenagers, male and female, about their grooming habits and how much energy they devote to their appearance in daily life. Adult women spend about 6.4 hours per week working on their looks, compared to the 4.5 hours per week that adult men spend.
This constant attention on physical appearance isn't doing us any favors. 60 percent of adult women harbor negative thoughts about their appearance on a regular basis, while only 36 percent of men reported the same kinds of thoughts. According to the survey results, we worry more about our looks than we do about finances, health, relationships, and financial success. This is one area in which men and women are closely matched — the only thing men are more concerned with than appearances is money.
The survey made a few other interesting connections, highlighting the common "problem" areas that men and women obsess over (no one likes their stomach, apparently) and pointing out the differences between women with children and without.
Surprisingly, more mothers stressed about their looks than childless women, but the study also considered the fact that some of these ladies with children fear that their appearance has an effect on their kids.
The majority of woman and men always feel as though they could afford to lose weight and dislike having their photo taken.
While it isn't awful to put looking your best high on your priority list, it is awful to allow it to take over your life (and your schedule). It is impossible to avoid paying attention to your appearance. In fact, as clinical psychologist Jonathan Rudiger points out, "[o]ur physical appearance is very much a part of the ‘self.’" The difficulty comes when we begin to equate looking good with a higher degree of self-worth.
As a society, we would benefit from focusing on acceptance of ourselves and others. To aid in that, Today/AOL recommends we "turn down the volume" on negative thoughts by consciously shifting our attention away from them. Easier said than done, but it's a start!