The Halo Effect vs. Real Happiness

Every morning we wake up and we look at ourselves in the mirror. For some of us, we look in a mirror every time we pass by one. Our looks matter to us. And how could they not? We are automatically judged by others based on our physical appearance. As unfortunate as this is, it is not surprising that so many of us obsess about our weight, hair, clothes, and every other cuticle and follicle because of this pressure.
I think it is fairly safe to say that we all want to be deemed attractive by others. Whether you realize it or not, beautiful people are privileged. Due to the “halo effect”, we assume that good looking individuals have better marriages, better jobs, and that they are happier in general, according to Nancy Etcoff in Survival of the Prettiest. Etcoff also writes that because attractive people are seen as more popular and socially confident, they have more dating opportunities and more attention from the opposite sex. Sounds pretty nice, right?
But notice that the “halo effect” is based only on assumptions. There’s a reason why these “angels” are translucent; appearance and reality are not what they seem. Psychologists Ed Diener and David Myers have learned through studies that beauty does not make you happier; instead it is your “subjective well being” which consists of “positivity and satisfaction with life”.
Happiness is derived from “optimism, personal control, self esteem, the ability to tolerate frustration, and a feeling of comfort” rather than a straight nose or a six pack. So next time you look in the mirror, notice the smile on your face or the glisten in your eyes- let your inner happiness radiate through to your outer appearance. Not that it matters, but you’ll be seen as more attractive when you do!
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

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  1. 1. TGIT: Thank God it’s Thursday! It’s officially the weekend and I’m so excited for my mini-trip to UCLA for the weekend.

    2. Facebook: I would never be able to do this project without this website. I have been able to contact so many of my peers so that this can be a cumulative effort. I am so grateful for everyone’s support and enthusiasm about The Sunny Side Up!

    3. Taylor Swift: After I was lucky enough to see her perform at the Staples Center, I’m a tried and true fan. “Today Was a Fairytale” is on the top of my play list at 38 plays. I think I watched Cinderella too many times when I was little.

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    5. My car: It may be a gold Corolla, aka a “Grandma Car”, but this car has been through so much with me. I’ve never gotten a ticket or an accident YET, but I really should get an oil change- I noticed today that I’m 10,000 miles over the recommendation. Oops.

    Posted on 7.17.10 | Reply

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