Many people consider undergoing plastic surgery to become more attractive, look younger, raise their self-esteem and just to feel better about themselves. In each case, though, the core desire is to become a happier person. Fortunately for those who are considering a tummy tuck, face-lift, rhinoplasty or any other cosmetic procedure, the data shows that plastic surgery is likely to make you happier and improve your sense of well-being.
Everyone knows what it is like to feel happier, but the emotion is hard to quantify. Nevertheless, researchers at the Ruhr University Bochum, in Bochum, Germany, set out to do exactly that.
Publishing their results in a 2013 issue of Clinical Psychological Science, the scientists designed a brief questionnaire, which served to assess the overall happiness of three different groups of people: Those who had undergone plastic surgery, those who had considered plastic surgery but decided against it, and people who had never thought about having plastic surgery performed on their body. In total, approximately 1,800 people were surveyed and their responses were analyzed by the study.
The researchers assessed the feelings of the study participants prior to the surgery and again three, six and twelve months after the completion of their procedure. Contrary to the notion that plastic surgery encourages unrealistic expectations in patients, most of the participants slated for surgery -- approximately 78 percent of the respondents -- had realistic goals, and understood that plastic surgery would not solve all of their problems or transform them into a new person.
After the surgery was completed, the survey showed that the majority of the respondents reported feeling happier than they were before the procedure. Those who underwent a cosmetic procedure expressed higher self-esteem than those who had not undergone plastic surgery, and most also reported less anxiety than they experienced before the surgery. Additionally, many of the respondents reported feeling an improvement in their overall health following their surgery.
Another, similar study, conducted by Jurgen Margraf, Andrea Hans Meyer and Kristen Lavallee, which was also published in Clinical Psychological Science, found that approximately 80 percent of those who underwent surgery felt that the procedure achieved their pre-surgery goals.
These studies reinforce the fact that many plastic surgeons and former patients already know: Plastic surgery often makes you a happier person, with a positive outlook on life. One of the most surprising results of the studies revealed that many who underwent cosmetic surgery felt better about their entire bodies afterwards, rather than only feeling better about the particular body part that was the focus of the treatment.
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