The route between feeling confused, helpless, and depressed in your life to finding the energy and motivation to take control of your situation is in a bar of soap, not to mention a dab of shampoo, maybe a pinch of tooth paste on a tooth brush.
Scientific and psychological studies have shown that the simple act of cleansing your body, your hair, or brushing your teeth can restore a measure of self-respect and dignity that is too easily lost when facing chronic troubles. Not being clean, feeling grimy, having greasy hair, foul breath, stinky body odor, all only make worse whatever dark, irritable and ugly feelings you’re having. It adds to your stress, to feelings of inadequacy. It depletes your emotional energy, making you feel even more tired. If you don’t think you’re worth the effort to clean up, you don’t think anything is worth doing.
Not keeping yourself clean is actually a form of self-punishment. On some subconscious level, your problems may have you feeling “like dirt.” You might be feeling guilty, inadequate, fearful, or any other negative emotion that’s pulling you down and making you feel unworthy of a better life, and thus not worthy of even the self respect and dignity that comes from being clean. Not caring about your appearance, or having the energy to draw a bath, step into the shower, is you rejecting yourself, pushing your present image of yourself away.
No matter what the source of your issues are, neglecting your personal hygiene will only add to your problems. When you’re not clean or fresh, you’re more likely to avoid going out or being around people, worsening your isolation, your sense of missing out. Stop cleaning and bacteria and yeast begin to grow. You develop odor, rashes, crusty skin, or sores and attract mites, lice or fleas. Poor gums and dental problems cause foul breath and nasty tastes in your mouth, as well as permit infections to enter your blood stream and cause cardiac problems. Unless you’re marooned in a place without access to clean water, there’s no reasonable excuse for not cleaning yourself up. Soap doesn’t cost much. There’s not a dollar store around where you can’t find inexpensive soaps and shampoos, conditioners, tooth paste. You can easily collect and redeem enough abandoned soda cans to find the money for a bar of soap. Truth is, the act of keeping yourself clean it isn’t about physical or financial barriers; it’s all in your mind.
The act of cleansing has restorative powers. People who take daily showers or regular baths, who keep their hair clean, who maintain a healthy mouth, generally tend to be calmer and more successful people. The physical comfort that comes from being clean and fresh eases anxiety and boosts confidence. The act of keeping clean keeps you in touch with your body, with its changes, its needs. It gets the blood flowing, improves oxygen levels, boosts physical energy, but also raises your spirit. Presenting yourself clean improves how others see you and interact with you, making it easier for you to be more involved, more likely to start making an effort to address the underlying issues that have you feeling so down about your life.
There’s a domino effect to staying clean, as well. When your body is clean, you naturally want your clothes and sheets to be clean, too. Then, your home. When things are clean and orderly, you can live easier, find things more easily, feel a sense of control over your environment. The act of regular cleansing also gives you a chance to notice important clues to possible illness, lumps, moles, changes in skin, hair or eyes, that could be signs of something serious, giving you a chance to catch any problems early. Whatever else in your life you can’t control, you can control how clean you are, your clothes are, your home is. This small measure of control can keep you on the path to cleaning up the bigger issues messing with your happiness.
When you’re troubled, overwhelmed, maudlin, it’s easy to neglect your personal hygiene, and that’s the last thing you should do. No matter what else is out of your control, keeping yourself clean is something you can always manage. Even if you feel helpless to combat the bad things that happen to you, you can always fight back, regain the beginnings of control, with a bar of soap.
So, when your Life stinks, don’t think naked–Get naked, and suds it up!