We all care about how we look, to some degree or another, and dissatisfaction with a part of one’s body can be a source of lowered self-esteem and heightened anxiety for some, among other unpleasant feelings and insecurities. Some people choose to deal with these unwanted aspects of their body by turning to plastic surgery to remove, reshape, or minimize the offending blemish. But undergoing plastic surgery couldn’t clear up all these deeper issues and actually make you happier…could it?
Turns out, it actually can, according to a new study. It may seem like common sense when you look at it, but clinically speaking, surgically dealing with a part of the body that causes anxiety and insecurities can actually help to deal with those very same negative feelings.
Researchers at the Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy department of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum followed the post-operative experience of 544 individuals who underwent a cosmetic surgery, and compared them to 246 people who had considered surgery but opted against it in the end, and about 1000 people who had never considered surgery.
The 544 participants who underwent surgery were not statistically any more depressed or mentally healthy compared to their non-operative counterparts. Using what’s called “Goal Attainment Scaling,” the researchers gauged the goals of all the participants using some open-ended questions, alongside ten standard goals. Only 12% specified unrealistic goals, such as “all my problems will be solved!” Most participants voiced realistic goals, such as “feeling better,” and “gaining self confidence.”
Checking in upwards to a year after their surgeries, the researchers found that, on average, those who had undergone surgery were significantly and statistically happier and felt better about themselves than their non-operative counterparts.
Having realistic goals when it comes to plastic surgery has a lot to do with overall satisfaction, as this study suggests. If you go in thinking that plastic surgery will fix all your problems and make everything better, well, you’re bound to wind up disappointed. But if you’re realistic about your goals, and a shot of Botox or taking off a few problem pounds with liposuction can help you feel better about yourself and how you look, it could be worth looking into. If you’re interested in any kind of plastic surgery, your first job is to contact your plastic surgeon for a consultation.