Are attractive people happier? Not so, studies show

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Although it might seem like beautiful and handsome people are happier than those not considered to meet the criteria, the reality is in fact quite different. According to studies, runway models and actors -- considered by many to be the fairest of us all -- actually tend to suffer from chronic low self-esteem and depression in spite of their good looks. Here are the four main reasons behind this startling truth.

 1. Different definitions of happiness

Our culture idolises and praises good looks more than any other attribute. On billboards, television, and across the internet we’re constantly being bombarded with images of thin, smiling, women and wealthy young men with washer-board abs, believing that they must be happy.

 As a result, this becomes our definition of what true happiness must be like. We end up believing that if we just lost weight and had a big enough paycheck, we’d be so much happier. Although it’s perfectly normal to define happiness this way when you lack and desire these things, those blessed with good looks have their own interpretation of success.

 Some may want to live a simple life away from the cameras but can't because they have public profiles to maintain, while others just want to settle down without being scrutinised for their simplest mistakes. If they can’t do this, they wind up feeling depressed and lonely.

 2. Low confidence levels

 Many successful celebrities depend on their looks to boost their confidence levels, while average-looking people tend to be happier because their confidence comes from something deep within.

 It short, happiness comes from being satisfied with what you have -- no matter how successful you are, you will never feel happy if you need outside gratification to feel comfortable with yourself.

 3. Comparisons, comparisons

 You'd be surprised to learn that most attractive people feel they aren’t beautiful enough because they compare themselves to their peers.

 The entertainment industry is very competitive, so celebrities will often try to outdo each other. Although competition is perfectly healthy for individual progress, it can be damaging if you see yourself as being at fault all the time.

 Celebrities will often go to great lengths to please their fans and look better than their peers. As a result, they become depressed and unhappy because they've done nothing to address their general well-being.

 4. The clock keeps ticking

 During a recent award acceptance speech, Nicole Kidman spoke out against a major trend in the entertainment industry: older female movie stars suffer tremendously from what is known as ageism, or prejudice based on their age.

 This explains why so many celebrities dedicate their early 30s to their career instead of settling down and having children (incidentally, egg cryopreservation is increasingly popular among young actresses), or undergo cosmetic procedures to maintain their youthful appearance.

 The attractive people we see in the media may seem to have everything, but they always have to maintain a certain image in order to remain relevant.

 Happiness is a choice

 Not all famous people are unhappy with their lives -- there are some who are quite content and comfortable with their fame. But remember -- being constantly preoccupied by what other people think of your appearance is bound to have an impact on your overall well-being.

 Conventional thinking has it that pursuing success will lead to happiness, but research indicates that it may be just the opposite. Happiness is a choice. The question is, are you willing to make it?

This is a guest post by Zoe Dobson of Zwivel