Why a healthy dose of vanity is good for us after all.
Once scorned as an affliction of the overly self-involved, vanity is lately being embraced as a novel kind of positive reinforcement to encourage healthier lifestyles. Researchers are finding that healthy versions of vanity can help us adapt and adhere to better diets, more rigorous skin-care routines, and regular exercise—the kinds of preventive health measures that may have a lasting impact on one’s life span.
The goal of being healthier is a noble idea, but sometimes a weak motivator. “You can say it’s good for your insides, but you can’t see your insides. You can’t show off your low cholesterol to other people,” says Dr. Wu. But there is something to show for that hard work at the gym: “You can show off a flatter tummy.”