Battling anxiety or depression? Here's how makeup helps women cope with their mental illness

Across the world, millions of people are struggling with depression and anxiety. Statistically, women are more susceptible to these illnesses than men, although they are more responsive to treatment and quicker to heal. Considering the seriousness of mental illnesses and the lack of awareness around the subject, it's critical to get professional help.

Women are more susceptible to anxiety (and depression) than men (Source: American Addiction Center)

But the power of healing always remains with the individual. Women, especially, need to learn to put themselves first in order to heal and get their life back on track. Here's why more and more women have taken to the powerful weapon of makeup brushes and colors to take on the day, especially on days they feel more vulnerable to the symptoms.

Makeup has the power to lift your mood (Source: Pinterest)

1. Anxiety screws up routine; makeup helps rebuild it

The first thing that takes a hit when your mental health is in question is your routine and sense of purpose. Mornings are the worst. Those with severe anxiety often dread mornings. The very thought of having an entire day ahead—with chores, deadlines, people, strangers, transit, and conversations—can be overwhelming. Living with anxiety is like living with an inner monster that piles up on worry and angst and the best way to deal with it is to race ahead of it before it can take over your day. 

Deborah Norville on the worst days of depression. Source: AZ Quotes

Makeup allows you to beat this by setting a relaxing morning routine. Research has proven that for an overwhelmed brain, anything that is repetitive and familiar can be comforting and relaxing. As you prim your face, do your base, blend in the different tones, there's an easy flow of order that sets the pace for the day. Waking up every day knowing you have a few minutes to do this ritual and feel good about yourself can be empowering.

A morning ritual can help you get ahead of the negative thoughts in your head. Source: Pinterest

2. Self-care is the best weapon against depression and anxiety

Millions of women, who are dealing with major depressive disorder, find it hard to get out of bed. The thought of waking up and doing simple tasks like making tea or making the bed can seem exhausting and pointless. The fact that depressed people can go on for days without a bath or proper meals is well-known to therapists and experts. Having a friend or family around is a blessing, but even that isn't enough to motivate a person whose brain chemicals are way below the acceptable level.

Anxiety and/or depression can make getting out of bed an overwhelming task (Source: Shutterstock)

Women who take a few moments to prep up feel a brief release from the thoughts in the head and focus on pampering themselves. Just taking a relaxing shower or washing their face is an act of self-care that will make them feel better. Something about looking at oneself in the mirror and doing what we can to bring out the best even when we don't feel our best is encouraging.

Having a daily morning routine can give your day some direction (Source: Pinterest)

3. The look you choose shapes your mood

Whether you choose to go retro with winged liner and bright lips or play sexy with smokey eyes and neutral lips, who you choose to be that day determines how you feel the whole day. This way, makeup is a powerful mood enhancer and modifier. Every woman can recollect a time when an otherwise average or blah day became special and cheerful simply because of a neon nail color or bright lips. It's magic, and we know it. 

The look you choose to sport influences your mood through the day. Source: Pinterest

4. It preps you to face the day and get through it

Having to live with depression and anxiety is a personal journey. However, its symptoms are for all to see. We might do a good job of hiding our emotions and trying to appear to be in control, but the sense of deep vulnerability and loneliness we feel can tip over anytime and cause an emotional breakdown. Here's what a few women with depression had to say about how their mascaras, falsies, and cheek tints helped them get through their worst days (names changed).

Makeup preps you to face the day with more courage and spunk. Source: Pinterest

"Whenever I used my extra-curling mascara, I told myself I would never cry at work. It was waterproof, but I just needed that little reason to hold it together."

Lara, Project Lead at a publishing firm

Words of wisdom. Source: Pinterest

People say you should not hold back or numb down your emotions. That's true, but living with depression after a loss is like walking around with a raw wound. Anything can be a trigger. My sister gifted me the prettiest cheek tint and for the first time in months, I looked like my old, glowing self. For a week, I held onto that cheek tint like it was my savior, a reminder of who I was, who I am beyond my condition. I had just one mini-breakdown and that, too, at home. 

Renae, new mother of twins

Your mascara can be your therapist, encouraging you to hold it together. Source: Pinterest

My falsies are my anti-depressants. I did my nursing training, and I know all about medical assistance needed to help patients gain back their strength after a surgery or major treatment. My morning routine is my personal treatment program. A daily routine that gives me little doses of joy, self-care, and courage to face the world. I swear, whenever I have my falsies on, I feel no thought in my head, however criticizing or negative, feels as threatening.

Zoe, nurse on a break

Makeup can prep you to face your day even when you are not at your best. Source: Pinterest

5. Gives a sense of perfection and accomplishment

When we color-coordinate, pick the right shades, tweak, shape, fill, contour, highlight, blend it all out, and smile, it makes us feel more in control. Nothing is more satisfying than drawing the perfect line along our lids, or creating a fine illusion of a bow on our lips, or blending in the neutral tones to perfection on our skin. It feels good. No wonder most women feel powerful and unstoppable on their best-hair-days or days when they have nailed the look they had picked for the day.

Dopamine is the transmitter associated with motivation and goal accomplishment. Source: Pinterest

6. Like any other art, it's good for the soul

There's something about how little bottles of liquids and palettes of powder gets transformed into a work of art on our face. Like music or painting, applying makeup to perfection is an art form. And like any other art, it takes practice and allows us to be completely present in the moment.

Makeup requires practice like any other art. Source: Pinterest

For those dealing with mental health concerns, it's more about the process. A few moments of pure indulgence, when nothing matters more than creating a smooth line of perfection or brushing on some bronzer with just the right amount of product, holding a brush at the perfect angle. It's art. It's play. And it's a whole lot of fun. 

Makeup and fashion channels your inner artist. Source: Pinterest

7. Color therapy, all the way

We all know the colors we perceive constantly can impact our mood. If color therapy is anything to go by, that bold lipstick, the neon nail colors, or jewel-hued eyeshadows are delightful ways to give doses of joy to ourselves. 

Colors you opt for are closely linked to your emotions (Source: Pinterest)

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About Author

Keerthana Panneer


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