Change your Clothes, Change your Brain?
Monday, April 17, 2017 50 Comments
Fashionistas & their Opposites
A brain-based look
© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Brain-Based Series
Collaboration with Jodie’s Touch of Style
Whatever we think about how they put themselves together, we tend to notice that we see them in a different outfit every time we see them – even if we see them several times on the same day.
Many of us who like to think of ourselves as serious thinkers love to make fun of them. We frequently believe they’re vapid, self-focused vanity plates wasting time and energy on items that don’t make one whit of difference.
And we’d be wrong.
They might not be changing the world, but they certainly are changing their clothes! And that’s not such a bad thing, you’ll come to find out as you keep reading.
Most of us have met at least one of these ladies. A perfect example is the college beauty queen who hasn’t changed her style since her heyday, despite the fact that she is now middle aged or older.
Her hairstyle is practically the same, often chemically processed at considerable trouble or expense to remain exactly the same color. Her wardrobe usually has a slightly “Delta Dawn” feel to it – frozen in time.
Youngsters sometimes point them out in a manner you wish they wouldn’t, and often at the top of their lungs, “Look Mom – that old lady looks just like Aunt Theresa!”
Another example is “Sensible Susie.”
She has decided what is appropriate and what is no longer suitable for any number of reasons: since she’s gained or lost weight, now that she’s older, the kids are in middle school, her husband got a promotion — whatever!
She may well be right, but the problem is that she turns what might have been a good idea into a rule book from which she never varies.
She may be easy to shop for, but nobody would ever accuse her of being “fashion forward,” and she’s often one of the first to point out the supposed flaws in the outfit of a contemporary.
Make way for “Matching Molly”
My own grandmother could have been the Matching Molly poster girl. If an ensemble was purchased as an outfit, the various items might as well have been sewn together.
Suggesting to her that she could wear the jacket from Outfit A over a dress – or with the skirt from Outfit B – was practically enough to give her apoplexy.
She had a fit if I mixed and matched in my own wardrobe too, especially with items that she had given me as birthday or Christmas presents — there was no such thing as “separates” in my grandmother’s closet or her world view.
Remember that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>
HOVER before clicking – often a box will appear to tell you what to expect
Flip/Flop: The Anti-Fashionistas
“Sweatpants Sarah” is more likely to stay home if she can’t wear her grubbies.
After a few kids, “Soccer Mom Samantha” no longer owns many items of clothing that still fit.
Sam rarely feels like she has time in her schedule for anything as unimportant as clothes shopping anymore — even if she used to enjoy it, but especially if she never really did.
So What’s My Point?
Changing anything is brain-friendly. Not only is “playing dress-ups” in your own closet and shopping for a few new alternatives not a frivolous waste of time, it is actually a relatively quick and easy-to-do creative activity that supports remaining cognitively nimble as you move through life.
As long as we don’t resist or resent the process, the daily task of choosing something different to put on our bodies is akin to priming — making it easier for us to remain decision and choice-friendly in other arenas as well.
It also reminds our subconscious mind that WE matter and are entitled to a few “frivolous” expenditures of the minutes of our own lives – especially those of us who have tremendous time-consuming responsibilities otherwise.
- Even those of us on extremely tight budgets can usually find something on sale we can afford and would enjoy wearing – or in a thrift-shop, yard or garage sale – as long as we don’t close our minds to the idea.
- A non-buying trip to see what’s in vogue this century can also give us a few ideas that allow us to “shop our own closets” with an eye toward putting things together in a way that is fresh and different, even if we’re squeezing every penny until it screams — as long as we don’t consider the idea a total waste of time or remain fixed on the “what goes with what” idea.
- Shopping and buying don’t have to mean the same thing at all – and trying on what’s new in the stores to see how it looks on our very own bodies opens our minds to more than fashion.
Introductory Post: Making Friends with Change
Life’s a BALANCE
The important thing is to jettison the wardrobe shoulds and musts as part of how you live your life.
While they certainly can’t be faulted, they would probably feel less harried or resentful if they could find some way to dedicate an afternoon once in a while to figuring out how they want to present themselves to the world.
It’s self-esteem enhancing.
We all feel more positive when we like the way we look
and practically skulk around when we don’t.
But “liking the way we look” doesn’t mean we never change how we look.
Collaborating with a Fashion Blogger
Each week she takes on a current trend or wardrobe challenge – like mixing prints, for example, or finding a brand new way to wear an old favorite – and gives her readers various examples of how that idea might be expressed on “real women” who have already established lives, families – and styles!
Jodie models looks and clothing more likely to appeal to 40-50-somethings, along with her stepmom, Nancy (who’s the 60’s model) and her mom, Charlotte (the 70’s model).
We decided it would be fun to put our heads together to see if we could come up with a week’s worth of challenges (Monday-Wednesday-Friday) specifically designed to shake things up, forcing change to our SELF-images on the way to helping us become more “change- friendly” overall.
Together we will explore how playing with what we choose to wear – recombining items we already own or adding something inexpensive to alter the look – can be a terrific way of making friends with change.
As I commented in Jodie’s first post of this 3-part series . . .
Not only have researchers begun to discover the importance of “play” to healthy brain development and continued health, any time we spend making friends with change is what is called “neuro-protective.”
Change forces the brain to build new pathways, which become all the more important as we age, when some of the old pathways die off or become corrupted.
Changing how we dress ourselves is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make friends with the habit of looking for ways to build new pathways.
So we can all take shopping and fashion off our “guilty pleasures” lists.
No need to feel guilty about something that’s actually good for the brain!
Take something you usually wear one way, and shop your closet specifically for something to pair it with that will allow you to wear it in a different manner.
More interested in the science than the fashion?
Scroll down to the Related Content links for more about neuroplasticity and healthy brain aging.
In this TALK, he shares one of the secrets of the brain’s incredible power: its ability to actively re-wire itself to enhance our skills and recover lost function.
© 2017, all rights reserved
Check bottom of Home/New to find out the “sharing rules”
(reblogs always okay, and much appreciated)
Shared on the Senior Salon
As always, if you want notification of new articles in this Series – or any new posts on this blog – give your email address to the nice form on the top of the skinny column to the right. (You only have to do this once, so if you’ve already asked for notification about a prior series, you’re covered for this one too). STRICT No Spam Policy
IN ANY CASE, do stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.
Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this Series (one-on-one couples or group), click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end (or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page). Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)
You might also be interested in some of the following articles
available right now – on this site and elsewhere.
For links in context: run your cursor over the article above and the dark grey links will turn dark red;
(subtle, so they don’t pull focus while you read, but you can find them to click when you’re ready for them)
— and check out the links to other Related Content in each of the articles themselves —
Related articles right here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com
(in case you missed them above or below)
- Brain-based Coaching with Madelyn Griffith-Haynie
- Group Coaching Information LinkList
- Private Coaching Formats & Fees
- Making Friends with Change
- Turning on the light in “darkened” brains
- Brain-hacking – Moving Beyond the Brain you were Born With
Other supports for this article
A Few LinkLists by Category (to articles here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com)
- The Optimal Functioning (Challenges) Series of articles
(about the Inventory & articles from each category)
Related Articles ’round the net
- There is No “Versus” in Nature Versus Nurture
- Neuroplasticity: The 10 Fundamentals Of Rewiring Your Brain
- How to ‘game your brain’: the benefits of neuroplasticity (Wired)
- TED TALK: Michael Merzenich – Growing Evidence of Brain Plasticity
BY THE WAY: Since ADDandSoMuchMore.com is an Evergreen site, I revisit all my content periodically to update links — when you link back, like, follow or comment, you STAY on the page. When you do not, you run a high risk of getting replaced by a site with a more generous come-from.