'Retail therapy' has long been recognised as a psychological phenomenon, with many of us hitting the shops to give ourselves a boost - myself included! But unfortunately this high doesn't last and, according to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, buying something to beat the blues often has the opposite effect, making us feel worse about ourselves.
For the last month, Dove had been bringing positive self-esteem to the store level through a first-of-its kind pop-up store in Paris to help reverse this feeling. Through the store experience, guests were engaged by staff members with the goal of giving them a new kind of shopping experience - one that minimizes anxiety and leaves them feeling uplifted and beautiful.
We worked with well-known French psychologist and self-esteem expert, Christophe André, to develop this approach for the Pop-Up Store and also give advice and tips that could be delivered through self-esteem workshops held at the store.
We want to extend some of Christophe André's tips to increasing self-esteem to women in the UK since recent research from the Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report (2016) revealed only 20% of UK women have high body-esteem.
1. First of all, don't focus on a single aspect (your body, your talents, your popularity) but on all three. Take care of your appearance (without becoming obsessed). Spend time and share pastimes with your loved ones, friends and colleagues (whilst accepting that you can't be liked or appreciated by everyone all the time).
2. Next, don't define yourself by your successes or setbacks. I'm not a loser because I fail, and I'm not great because I succeed! When nice things happen, enjoy them, without letting them go to your head. And when things get tough, don't disparage or blame yourself, face them as best you can.
3. And this is equally important: have a friendly and compassionate relationship with yourself. Self-esteem problems are often accompanied by a strong tendency to be self-critical or angry towards yourself. This is unhelpful. When that happens, you should instead be asking yourself what you would tell a friend who is thinking in circles or having a complex to cheer them up and get them moving in the right direction again. It is that friendly conversation that you should be having with yourself.
4. Finally, don't always be inward-looking... At some stage, what will help you most is to look to others, to share and interact with them, and to look to the outside world, to engage with it and enjoy it...
I know following tips is sometimes easier said than done, especially as we head into the New Year and start setting ourselves resolutions. There are times when you make progress, when you have more confidence, and other times when you feel set back. But it still is worthwhile to work on yourself and feel you are gently advancing along the road to self-esteem. I personally find that if I set aside just five minutes every morning and remind myself of these things, I feel more confident and resilient to take on the day - shopping or no shopping!
For more self-esteem tips visit selfesteem.dove.com.