Body image isn’t just a female issue. Men have just as much anxiety about their looks as women do, according to a new study published in the journal Body Image.
Researchers surveyed more than 12,000 people about different factors known to affect happiness, including their satisfaction with their appearance, financial status, and love life. The scientists also assessed the overall happiness of each study participant.
Only half of the men were content with their appearances, the survey found. Nearly a quarter of the guys disliked how they looked, and the rest were neutral.
Those numbers were roughly the same for the women in the study.
What’s more, body image was the second-highest predictor of overall happiness for men—even ahead of their love life. The only thing that was more closely linked to their overall satisfaction was their finances.
You’re not crazy to care about your looks, says study author Dr David Frederick, assistant professor in psychology at Chapman University. Your appearance affects how others perceive you, he says, so it makes sense that feeling like your looks fall short would make you unhappy.
But building confidence will give a better impression to everyone you meet. Take these steps to feel better in your own skin.
Figuring out what clothes look best on your body can help you come to appreciate how you’re built, says Katherine Schafler, a licensed psychotherapist based in New York City.
Hit the gym
Obviously exercise can help you build a better body if you stick to it for weeks. But it can also instantly make you feel more confident because it triggers the release of endorphins, says Schafler.
Eat smarter—without spending all day in the kitchen.
Want to lose weight? You already know you have to eat better, but if that was easy, we’d all have six packs.
The secret, according to nutrition advisor Dr Mike Roussell, is to have healthy foods on hand so that your inevitably crazy schedule doesn’t derail your diet.
Take comfort in the latest research.
If you’re stressed about your appearance because of what women will think, you can cross that off your list of reasons to worry. New research suggests that women care more about personality than looks, and they can be attracted to all different body types, says Frederick.